Zizek’s Publications in Academic Journals

Zizek's Publications in Academic Journals Zizek's Publications in Academic Journals
Zizek's Publications in Academic Journals
Zizek’s Publications in Academic Journals

2016, Sexuality in the Posthuman Age, Stasis. Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 54-69.

Abstract: The article begins with a critique of the prevalent interpretation of Platonov’s novels from the 1920s. These novels supposedly present a critical depiction of the Stalinist utopia and its catastrophic consequences. The article argues against such an interpretation by demonstrating that the aforementioned novels do not present a critique of Stalinism but rather a critique of the gnostic-materialist utopia against which late Stalinism reacted in the early 1930s. The article critically confronts various aspects of this utopia of “biocosmism” as the forerunner of today’s technognosis, focusing primarily on its tendency to surpass sexuality as the last stronghold of the bourgeois counterrevolution. This aspect of the critique of the gnostic-materialist utopia is also at work in Platonov’s essay “The Anti-Sexus,” conceived as an advertisement for a masturbatory device. The text discusses this device in the context of the proliferation of gadgets (what Lacan called les lathouses), the “undead” organs which are not mere supplements of the human organism but rather provide the key to the sexuation of human beings as beings of language.
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2012 February, Hegel versus Heidegger, e-flux 32.

One of the standard critiques of Hegel, first formulated already by the “young Hegelians,” concerns the apparent contradiction between Hegel’s dialectical method and his system. While Hegel’s method approaches reality in its dynamic development, discerning in every determinate form the seeds of its own destruction and self-overcoming, his system endeavors to render the totality of being as an achieved order in which no further development is in view. With the twentieth century interpreters of Hegel who stand under Heidegger’s influence, this contradiction between the “logical” and the “historical” acquires a deeper radical underpinning: what they try to outline is a more fundamental ontological frame that is both the source of Hegel’s dialectical systematizing, and is, simultaneously, betrayed by this systematizing. The historical dimension is here not simply the unending evolution of all life forms. It is also not the life-philosophical opposition between the young Hegel trying to grasp the historical antagonisms of social life and the old Hegel compulsively steamrolling all content with his dialectical machine, but the inherent tension between Hegel’s systematic drive of notional self-mediation (or sublation) and a more original ontological project that, following Heidegger, Alexandre Koyre describes as the historicity of the human condition oriented towards future. The root of what Hegel calls “negativity” is (our awareness of) future: future is what is not (yet), the power of negativity is ultimately identical to the power of time itself, this force that corrodes every firm identity.
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2010 July-August, A Permanent Economic Emergency, New Left Review 64.

As the Eurozone’s sovereign-debt crisis deepens, Slavoj Žižek calls for an internationalist response that would transcend the defence of a failing status quo, to invent new transitional strategies.
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2009, Legal Luck, International Journal of Zizek Studies. Vol. 3, No. 1.

Kant grounds what he calls the “transcendental formula of public law” (…) in the obvious reason that a secret law, a law unknown to its subjects…
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2009, A Short Clarification, International Journal of Zizek Studies. Vol. 3, No. 1.

A new text by Ian Parker (…) which begins with the claim that, towards the end of the 1980s (…) I acted as a “commissar” monitoring and controlling dissident activity…
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2009 May-June, How to Begin from the Beginning, New Left Review 57.

Mountaineering lessons from the Bolsheviks’ master strategist provide a metaphor for regroupment in hard times. Slavoj Žižek identifies the principal antagonisms within contemporary capitalism, as the basis for positing anew the ‘communist hypothesis’.
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2009, …’I will move the underground’ Slavoj Zizek On Udi Aloni’s Forgiveness, International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies. Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 80-83.

A hybrid of realism and fantasy, “Forgiveness” is a psychological examination of the tragedies of the Middle East. David, a young American-Israeli, returns to Israel to join the army, only to find himself in a catatonic state after accidentally shooting a Palestinian girl while on patrol. He is committed to a mental institution which sits on the ruins of a Palestinian village that had been attacked by Israeli forces in 1948. The head psychiatrist offers medication for David’s tortured guilt-ridden amnesic withdrawal, while another patient in the hospital, a Holocaust survivor ironically named Muselmann, tries to redeem David by encouraging him to respond to the child ghost that haunts him, to acknowledge his crime and to bear his guilt as a prerequisite for reparation and forgiveness.
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2008 Winter, Confessions of an Unrepentant Leninist, International Journal of Zizek Studies.

The reactions to my Lenin-book for the most part move between the standard liberal anti-Communism – how do I dare to rehabilitate a mass murderer, etc…
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2008, Language, Violence and non-violence, International Journal of Zizek Studies. Vol. 2, No. 3.

In his “Critique of Violence,” Walter Benjamin raises the question: “Is any non-violent resolution of conflict possible?” His answer is that such a non-violent resolution of conflict is indeed possible in what he calls “relationships among private persons,” in courtesy, sympathy and trust: “there is a sphere of human agreement that is non-violent to the extent that it is wholly inaccessible to violence: the proper sphere of ‘understanding,’ language.’
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2008, Descartes and the post-traumatic subject, Filozofski Vestnik. Vol. 29, No. 2, pp. 9-29.

If the radical moment of the inauguration of modern philosophy is the rise of the Cartesian cogito, where are we today with regard to cogito? Are we really entering a post-Cartesian era, or is it that only now our unique historical constellation enables us to discern all the consequences of the cogito? Walter Benjamin claimed that works of art often function like shots taken on a film for which the developer has not yet been discovered, so that one has to wait for a future to understand them properly. Is not something similar happening with cogito: today, we have at our disposal the developer to understand it properly.
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2008, The Violence of the Liberal Utopia, Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory. Vol 9, No. 2, pp.9-25.

While liberal capitalism presents itself as anti-utopia embodied, and today’s neoliberalism as the sign of the new era of humanity, which left behind the utopian projects responsible for the totalitarian horrors of the 20th century, it is now becoming clear that there is a utopian core in the liberal project itself- the violence that accompanies the victories of liberal capitalism is the price we are paying for this utopia. In describing this utopian core, the text proceeds in three steps. First, it focuses on today’s China, an exemplary case of the socially disruptive effects of global capitalism; then, it articulates the basic structure of the liberal utopia; finally, it outlines the dimension missing in this utopia.
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2008, Christ, Hegel, Wagner, International Journal of Zizek Studies. Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 1-12.

In pre-digital times, when I was in my teens, I remember seeing a bad copy of Vertigo – its last seconds were simply missing, so that the movie appeared to have a happy ending, Scottie reconciled with Judy, forgiving her and accepting her as a partner, the two of them passionately embracing… My point is that such an ending is not as artificial as it may seem: it is rather in the actual ending that the sudden appearance of the Mother Superior from the staircase below functions as a kind of negative deux ex machina, a sudden intrusion in no way properly grounded in the narrative logic, which prevents the happy ending. Where does the nun appear from? From the same preontological realm of shadows from which Scottie himself secretly observes Madeleine in the florist’s. And it is here that we should locate the hidden continuity between Vertigo and Psycho: the Mother Superior appears from the same void from which, “out of nowhere,” Norman appears in the shower murder sequence of Psycho, brutally attacking Marion, interrupting the reconciliatory ritual of cleansing.
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2008, The Prospects of Radical Politics Today, International Journal of Baudrillard Studies, Vol. 5, No. 1.

Today, in the time of continuous swift changes, from the “digital revolution” to the retreat of old social forms, thought is more than ever exposed to the tempta­tion of “losing its nerve”, of precociously abandoning the old conceptual coor­dinates. The media bombard us with the need to abandon the “old paradigms”: if we are to survive, we have to change our most fundamental notions of per­sonal identity, society, environment, etc. New Age wisdom claims that we are entering a new “posthuman” era; psychoanalysts hasten to concede that the Oedipal matrix of socialization is no longer operative, that we live in times of universalized perversion, that the concept of “repression” is of no use in our per­missive times; postmodern political thought tells us that we are entering a postindustrial society, in which the old categories of labor, collectivity, class, etc., are theoretical zombies, no longer applicable to the dynamics of modern­ization… Third Way ideology and political practice is effectively the model of this defeat, of this inability to recognize how the New is here to enable the Old to survive. Against this temptation, one should rather follow the unsurpassed example of Pascal and ask the difficult question: How are we to remain faithful to the Old in the new conditions? Only in this way can we generate something effectively New.
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2007, Why Heidegger made the right step in 1933, International Journal of Zizek Studies. Vol. 1, No. 4.
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2007 Fall, Tolerance as an Ideological Category, Critical Inquiry.
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2007, Badiou: Notes from an Ongoing Debate, International Journal of Zizek Studies. Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 28-43.

In his Logiques des mondes (Badiou 2006), Alain Badiou provides a succinct definition of “democratic materialism” and its opposite, “materialist dialectics”: the axiom which condenses the first one is “There is nothing but bodies and languages …,” to which materialist dialectics adds “… with the exception of truths.” This opposition is not so much the opposition of two ideologies or philosophies as the opposition between non-reflected presuppositions/beliefs into which we are “thrown” insofar as we are immersed into our lifeworld, and the reflective attitude of thought proper which enables us to subtract ourselves from this immersion, to “unplug” ourselves, as Morpheus would have put it in The Matrix, a film much appreciated by Badiou, the film in which one also finds a precise account of the need, evoked by Badiou, to control oneself (when Morpheus explains to Neo the lot of ordinary people totally caught (“plugged”) in the Matrix, he says: “Everyone who is not unplugged is a potential agent”).
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2006, Is Psychoanalysis Really Outmoded? Apropos the 150th Anniversary of Freuds Birth. Journal European Psychoanalysis. No. 23.
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2005, Le devenir-lacanien de Deleuze, Savoirs et clinique No. 6.
Deleuze n’est pas un penseur de l’historicisme évolutionniste…
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2005, Against Human Rights, New Left Review 34.

Alibi for militarist interventions, sacralization for the tyranny of the market, ideological foundation for the fundamentalism of the politically correct: can the ‘symbolic fiction’ of universal rights be recuperated for the progressive politicization of actual socio-economic relations?
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2004, The Parallax View, New Left Review 25.

The philosophical basis for social action, as recast in Kojin Karatani’s striking Transcritique. On Kant and Marx. Slavoj Žižek investigates the irreducible antinomies of production and circulation—or economics and politics—as envisioned from the gap in between.
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2004 Winter, The Ongoing Soft Revolution, Critical Inquiry.
In his admirable “The Pedagogy of Philosophy”, Jean-Jacques Lecercle described the scene of a yuppie on the Paris underground reading Deleuze and Guattari’s “What Is Philosophy?”…
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2004, Why is Wagner Worth Saving? Journal of Philosophy and Scripture, Vol. 2, No. 1.

With Romanticism, music changes its role: it is no longer a mere accompaniment of the message delivered in speech, it contains/renders a message of its own, “deeper” than the one delivered in words. It was Rousseau who first clearly articulated this expressive potential of music as such, when he claimed that, instead of merely imitating the affective features of verbal speech, music should be given the right to “speak for itself” – in contrast to the deceiving verbal speech, in music, it is, to paraphrase Lacan, the truth itself which speaks. As Schopenhauer put it, music directly enacts/renders the noumenal Will, while speech remains limited to the level of phenomenal representation. Music is the substance which renders the true heart of the subject, which is what Hegel called the “Night of the World,” the abyss of radical negativity: music becomes the bearer of the true message beyond words with the shift from the Enlightenment subject of rational logosto the Romantic subject of the “night of the world,” i.e., with the shift of the metaphor for the kernel of the subject from Day to Night. Here we encounter the Uncanny: no longer the external transcendence, but, following Kant’s transcendental turn, the excess of the Night in the very heart of the subject (the dimension of the Undead), what Tomlison called the “internal otherworldliness that marks the Kantian subject.” What music renders is no longer the “semantics of the soul,” but the underlying “noumenal” flux of jouissance beyond the linguistic meaningfulness. This noumenal is radically different from the pre-Kantian transcendent divine Truth: it is the inaccessible excess which forms the very core of the subject.
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2004, What can psychoanalysis tell us about cyberspace? Psychoanalytic Review, Vol. 91, No. 6.

Today, the media constantly bombard us with requests to choose, addressing us as subjects supposed to know what we really want (which book, clothes, TV program, place of holiday . . .)—“press A, if you want this, press B, if you want that,” or, to quote the motto of the recent “reflective” TV publicity campaign for advertisement itself, “Advertisement—the right to choose.” However, at a more fundamental level, the new media deprive the subject radically of the knowledge of what he wants: They address a thoroughly malleable subject who has constantly to be told what he wants, i.e., the very evocation of a choice to be made performatively creates the need for the object of choice.
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2004, Burned by the Thing, European Journal of Psychoanalysis, No. 18.
In the traditional metaphysical approach, art is about (beautiful) appearances, and science is about reality beneath appearances…
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2004 September 17th, Somewhere over the Rainbow, The Melbourne School of Continental Philosophy.
“What’s the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America” by Thomas Frank
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2004 January-February, The Parallax View, New Left Review 25.

The philosophical basis for social action, as recast in Kojin Karatani’s striking Transcritique. On Kant and Marx. Slavoj Žižek investigates the irreducible antinomies of production and circulation—or economics and politics—as envisioned from the gap in between.
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2003 Winter-Spring, Fantasy Reloaded. On “The Matrix” Movies, European Journal of Psychoanalysis, No. 16.
The author analyzes the first two movies of the series “The Matrix”, interpreting them as essentially a political metaphor of the state of the leftist struggle against the capitalist ‘machine’
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2002 Winter, A Plea for Leninist Intolerance, Critical Inquiry.
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2002, A cyberspace Lenin: why not? International Socialism Journal, Vol. 95.
If there is a consensus among (whatever remains of) today’s radical left, it is that, in order to resuscitate the radical political project, one should leave behind the Leninist legacy: the ruthless focusing on the class struggle, the party as the privileged form of organisation, the violent revolutionary seizure of power, the ensuing ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’…are all these not ‘zombie-concepts’ to be abandoned if the left is to have any chance in the conditions of ‘post-industrial’ late capitalism?
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2001, Hamlet vor Ödipus: Die Postmoderne als Mythos der Moderne. Texte Theorie Praxis Psychoanalyse, Vol. 2, No. 2.
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2001, Have Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri Rewritten the Communist manifesto for the Twenty-First Century? Rethinking Marxism, No. ¾.
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2001, Love withought mercy, Pli, Vol. 11.

In the Larry King debate between a rabbi, a Catholic priest and a Southern Baptist, broadcast in March 2000, both the rabbi and the priest expressed their hope that the unification of religions is feasible, since, irrespective of his or her official creed, a thoroughly good person can count on divine grace and redemption. Only the Baptist – a young, well-tanned and slightly overweight, repulsively slick Southern yuppie – insisted that, according to the letter of the Gospel, only those who “live in Christ” by explicitly recognizing themselves in his address will be redeemed, which is why, as he consequently concluded, “a lot of good and honest people will burn in hell.” In short, goodness (applying common moral norms) which is not directly grounded in the Gospel is ultimately just a perfidious semblance of itself, its own travesty. Cruel as this position may sound, if one is not to succumb to the Gnostic temptation, one should unconditionally endorse it. The gap that separates Gnosticism from Christianity is irreducible – it concerns the basic question of “who is responsible for the origin of death…
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2000 March-April, Why We All Love to Hate Haider, New Left Review 2.

What is the significance of the EU’s boycott of the new Austrian government? Beyond the Tartuffery of official reactions to Haider in the West, Slavoj Zizek dissects the political function of the new rectitudes of the Third Way.
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1999 November-December, When the Party Commits Suicide, New Left Review, I/238.
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1999, Angelaki: Journal of Theoretical Humanities, Vol. 4, No. 3, pp. 221-231.

Jacques Lacan defines art itself with regard to the Thing: in his seminar on the ethics of psychoanalysis, he claims that art as such is always organized around the central void of the impossible/real Thing – a statement which, perhaps, should be read as a variation on Rilke’s old thesis that beauty is the last veil that covers the horrible. Lacan gives some hints about how this surrounding of the void functions in the visual arts and in architecture; what we shall do here is not provide an account of how, in cinematic art also, the field of the visible, of representations, involves reference to some central and structural void, to the impossibility attached to it – ultimately, therein resides the point of the notion of suture in cinema theory. What I propose to do is something much more naive and abrupt: to analyze the way the motif of the Thing appears within the diegetic space of cinematic narrative – in short, to speak about films whose narrative deals with some impossible/traumatic Thing, like the Alien Thing in science-fiction horror films. What better proof of the fact that this Thing comes from Inner Space than the very first scene of Star Wars?
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1999 March-April, Against the Double Blackmail, New Left Review, I/234.

The prize-winner in the contest for the greatest blunder of 1998 was a Latin American patriotic terrorist who sent a letter-bomb to a US consulate in order to protest against the Americans interfering in local politics. As a conscientious citizen, he wrote on the envelope his return address; however, he did not put enough stamps on it, so that the post office returned the letter to him. Forgetting what he put in it, he opened it and blew himself up—a perfect example of how, ultimately, a letter always arrives at its destination. And is something quite similar not happening to the Slobodan Milosevic régime with the recent NATO bombing? For years, Milosevic was sending letter-bombs to his neighbours, from the Albanians to Croatia and Bosnia, keeping himself out of the conflict while igniting fire all around Serbia—finally, his last letter returned to him. Let us hope that the result of the NATO intervention will be that Milosevic will be proclaimed the political blunderer of the year.
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1999, The Cyberspace Real, World Association of Psychoanalysis.
Cyberspace Between Perversion and Trauma
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1999, From the myth to agape, Journal of European Psychoanalysis, No. 8/9.
Back in the late 1960s and 70s, in the heyday of the Lacanian Marxism, a lot of Lacan’s French followers were attracted by his anti-Americanism…
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1998 Summer, Excerpt from A Leftist Plea for ‘Eurocentrism’, Critical Inquiry, Volume 24, Number 4.
When one says ‘Eurocentrism’, every self-respecting postmodern leftist intellectual has as violent a reaction as Joseph Goebbels had to culture…
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1998 Spring, Psychoanalysis and Post-Marxism, The case of Alain Badiou, The South Atlantic Quaterly.
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1998 February, For a Leftist Appropriation of the European Legacy, Journal of Political Ideologies.
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1998, From “Passionate Attachments” to Dis-Identification, UMBR(a).
I want to address the problem of identification by confronting the predominant deconstructionist doxa…
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1997 Spring-Fall, The Big Other Doesn’t Exist, Journal of European Psychoanalysis.
Why did Freud supplement the Oedipal myth with the mythical narrative of the “primordial father” in Totem and Taboo…
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1997 September-October, Multiculturalism, or, the Cultural Logic of Multinational Capitalism, New Left Review I/225.
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1997, Desire: Drive = Truth: Knowledge, UMBR(a).
(…) the concept of “constructions in analysis” does not rely on the (dubious) claim that the analyst is always right (…)
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1993 November-December, From Courtly Love to the Crying Game, New Left Review I/202.
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1990 September-October, Eastern Europe’s Republics of Gilead, New Left Review I/183.
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1990, Death And Sublimation: The Final Scene Of City Lights. American Journal of Semiotics. Vol. 7, No. 3, pp. 63-72.

It may seem arguable, even absurd, to set Chaplin under the sign of “death and sublimation”: is no the universe of Chaplin’s films, a universe bursting with non-sublime vitality, vulgarity even, the very opposite of damp romantic obsession with death and sublimation? It may be so, but things get complicated at a particular point: the point of the intrusion of the voice. It is the voice that corrupts the innocence of the silent burlesque, of this pre-Oedipal, oral-anal Paradise of unbridled devouring and destroying that is ignorant of death and guilt: “Neither death nor crime exist in the polymorphous world of the burlesque where everybody gives and receives blows at will, where cream cakes fly and where, in the midst of the general laughter, buildings fall down.”
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1990, The Logic Of The Detective-Novel. Pamietnik Literacki. pp. 253-283.

1990, The Detective And The Analyst – The Shift From Detective-Story To Detective-Novel In The 1920s. Literature and Psychology. pp. 27-46.