Žižek: Beyond Foucault

Žižek: Beyond Foucault

Fabio Vighi, Heiko Feldner

Language: English

Pages: 260

ISBN: 2:00034993

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In Slavoj Zizek and Michel Foucault, this book brings together two of the most prominent thinkers in contemporary critical theory. Starting from a critical assessment of the Foucauldian paradigm of discourse analysis, it explores the theoretical scope and political consequences of Zizek's blend of Lacanian psychoanalysis, Hegelian philosophy and Marxist politics. The comparison between the two thinkers throws into relief the commonalities and irreconcilable differences of their respective approaches to critical theory. By unmasking reality as contingent symbolic fiction, the authors argue, Foucauldian criticism has only deconstructed the world in different ways; the point, however, is `to recognize the Real in what appears to be mere symbolic fiction' (Zizek) and to change it.
















tolerance and anti-racism but in such a way that they remain racist at a second degree. I even have personal experience of this. When people in Western countries professed to be shocked about Balkan ethnic cleansing, intolerance, violence and so on, it was clear that, as a rule, their very repudiation was formulated in such a way as actually to bring them a certain racist pleasure. Sometimes this even explodes openly. For example, when I, as a relatively tasteless person, make some joke or vulgar

that towards the end of his journey Foucault should rediscover the problematic which had served as his foil at its 99 100 On Power and How To Enjoy It beginning, namely the problem of the subject. Indefatigably as he had worked towards the fulfilment of his own prophecy according to which the subject ‘would be erased, like a face drawn in sand at the edge of the sea’ (Foucault, 1970, 387), the late Foucault, in his endeavour to anchor the possibility of effective resistance to technologies of

is governed by law-like patterns, the discovery of which allows to predict future developments with scientific precision. Fourth, the notion that human practices, institutions and beliefs are historically situated and defined by their specific context and thus have to be explained in terms of the contingent factors which gave rise to them. Where, then, does Foucault stand on this? While it is often difficult to locate Foucault intellectually as he remained notoriously cryptic on the coordinates

Freud’s name for its very opposite, for the way immortality appears within psychoanalysis, for an uncanny excess of life, for an ‘undead’ urge which persists beyond the (biological) cycle of life and death, of generation and corruption. The ultimate lesson of psychoanalysis is that human life is never “just life”: humans are not simply alive, they are possessed by the strange drive to enjoy life in excess, passionately attached to a surplus which sticks out and derails the ordinary run of things

around a series of equally crucial tactical considerations. If Zˇizˇek identifies Europe as the only viable leftist alternative to American hegemony, this choice can only actualise itself as a trans-strategic intervention: an antagonistic Europe is both strategically possible (it has strong intellectual and political resources to resist American supremacy) and yet it cannot fail to appear, simultaneously, as a traumatic/impossible event (Europe today is effectively a distorted image of the US,

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