Review Essay: On the "Subject" of Zizek

International Journal of Žižek Studies 10 (3) (2016)
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Abstract

‘On the “Subject” of Žižek’ is a three-part review essay looking at two recent texts on Žižek’s political interventions: Sean Homer’s Slavoj Žižek and Radical Politics, which takes up Žižek’s writings on the Balkan Wars, and Adam’s Kotsko’s series of web posts on Žižek on the refugee “crisis” in Europe. As well, it examines Zizek’s 2016 book on Islamic terrorism and the same “crisis”, Against the Double Blackmail: Refugees, Terror and Other Troubles with the Neighbours. Through a close reading of Žižek’s text, the review asks what is the proper philosophical response to these contemporary events. It proposes that critics of Žižek’s intellectual interventions fail properly to grasp his Hegelian method, which at once is to propose solutions and to think the limits and conditions of possibility of such solutions. It ultimately suggests that such solutions are their own failure, which are intended to lead to a better thinking of our situation – a thinking, consistent with Žižek’s Hegelian method, that could not have been arrived directly, but only through and as the failure of previous solutions.

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Rex Butler
Monash University

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