In Defense Of Lost Causes

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  • Edition: 00
  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2009-10-19
  • Publisher: VERSO
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Is global emancipation a lost cause? Are universal values outdated relics of an earlier age? In this combative major new work, philosophical sharpshooter Slavoj Zizek takes on the reigning ideology with a plea that we should re-appropriate several 'ťlost causes,'Ł and looks for the kernel of truth in the 'ťtotalitarian'Ł politics of the past. Examining Heidegger's seduction by fascism and Foucault's flirtation with the Iranian Revolution, he suggests that these were the 'ťright steps in the wrong direction.'Ł Highlighting the revolutionary terror of Robespierre, Mao and the Bolsheviks, Zizek argues that while these struggles ended in historic failure and monstrosity, this is not the entire story. There was, in fact, a redemptive moment that gets lost in the outright liberal-democratic rejection of revolutionary authoritarianism and the valorization of soft, consensual, decentralized politics. Zizek claims that, particularly in the light of the forthcoming ecological crisis, we should reinvent revolutionary terror and the dictatorship of the proletariat in the struggle for universal emancipation. We need to courageously accept the return to this cause'öeven if we court the risk of a catastrophic disaster. In the words of Samuel Beckett: 'ťTry again. Fail again. Fail better.'Ł

Author Biography

Slavoj iek is a Professor at the European Graduate School, International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, University of London, and a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. He is the author of many books, including The Sublime Object of Ideology and The Ticklish Subject. Slavoj Zizek is a professor at the European Graduate School, International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, University of London, and a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. He return to past ideals is needed despite the risks. In the words of Samuel Beckett: "Try again. Fiail again. Fail better."

Table of Contents

The State of Things
Happiness and Torture in the Atonal Worldp. 11
Human, all too human
The screen of civility
Gift and exchange
UlyssesĂ realpolitik
The atonal world
Serbsky Institute, Malibu
Poland as a symptom
Happy to torture?
The Family Myth of Ideologyp. 52
˘Capitalist realism÷
The production of the couple in Hollywood...
... and out
The real Hollywood left
History and family in Frankenstein
A letter which did arrive at its destination
Radical Intellectuals, or, Why Heidegger Took the Right Step (Albeit in the Wrong Direction) in 1933p. 95
Hiding the tree in a forest
A domestication of Neitzsche
Michel Foucault and the Iranian Event
The trouble with Heidegger
Ontological difference
HeideggerĂs smoking gun?
Repetition and the New
HeideggerĂs to the drive
Heidegger's "divine violence"
Lessons from the Past
Revolutionary Terror from Robespierre to Maop. 157
˘What do you want?÷
Asserting the inhuman
Transubstantiations of Marxism
The limits of MaoĂ dialectics
Cultural revolution and power
Stalinism Revisited, or, How Stalin Saved the Humanity of Manp. 211
The Stalinist cultural counter-revolution
A letter which did not reach its destination (and therby perhaps saved the world)
From objective to subjective guilt
Shostakovich in Casablanca
The Stalinist carnival...
... in the films of Sergei Eisenstein
The minimal difference
Why Populism Is (Sometimes) Good Enough in Practice, but Not in Theoryp. 264
Good enough in practice...
... but not good enough in theory
The ˘determinig role of the economy÷: Marx with Freud
Drawing the line
The act
The Real
The vacuity of the politics of jouissance
What Is to Be Done?
The Crisis of Determinate Negationp. 337
The humorous superego...
... and its politics of resistance
˘Goodbye Mister Resisting Nomad÷
Negri in Davos
Deleuze without Negri
Governance and movements
Alain Badiou, or, the Violence of Subtractionp. 381
Materialism, democratic and dialectial
Responses to the Event
Do we need a new world?
The lessons of the Cultural Revolution
Which subtraction?
Give the dictatorship of the proletariat a chance!
Unbehagan in der Naturp. 420
Beyond Fukuyama
From fear to trembling
Ecology against nature
The uses and misuses of Hiedegger
What is to be done?
Afterword to the Second Edition: What Is Divine About Divine Violencep. 463
Notesp. 489
Indexp. 519
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