Tag Archives: Slavoj Žižek

Summary of Dupuy on Social Hierarchy

“The arbitrariness of social hierarchy is not a mistake, but the whole point, with the arbitrariness of evaluation playing an analogous role to the arbitrariness of market success. Violence threatens to explode not when there is too much contingency in the social space, but when one tries to eliminate contingency. In La Marque du sacré, Jean-Pierre Dupuy conceives hierarchy as one of four procedures (‘dispositifs symboliques’) whose function is to make the relationship of superiority non-humiliating: hierarchy itself (an externally imposed order that allows me to experience my lower social status as independent of my inherent value); demystification (the ideological procedure which demonstrates that society is not a meritocracy but the product of objective social struggles, enabling me to avoid the painful conclusion that someone else’s superiority is the result of his merit and achievements); contingency (a similar mechanism, by which we come to understand that our position on the social scale depends on a natural and social lottery; the lucky ones are those born with the right genes in rich families); and complexity (uncontrollable forces have unpredictable consequences; for instance, the invisible hand of the market may lead to my failure and my neighbour’s success, even if I work much harder and am much more intelligent). Contrary to appearances, these mechanisms don’t contest or threaten hierarchy, but make it palatable, since ‘what triggers the turmoil of envy is the idea that the other deserves his good luck and not the opposite idea – which is the only one that can be openly expressed.’ Dupuy draws from this premise the conclusion that it is a great mistake to think that a reasonably just society which also perceives itself as just will be free of resentment: on the contrary, it is in such societies that those who occupy inferior positions will find an outlet for their hurt pride in violent outbursts of resentment.”

Slavoj Žižek, “The Revolt of the Salaried Bourgeoisie”

This is essentially a rejection of the liberal philosopher John Rawls‘ position, as articulated in A Theory of Justice.

Ilan Kapoor – Žižek, Antagonism and Politics Now

Link to an article by Ilan Kapoor:

“Žižek, Antagonism and Politics Now: Three Recent Controversies”

 

I’m not sure I agree with the criticisms of Žižek this offers, partly because they seem conclusory and underdeveloped, even if intriguing.  For instance, the notion that Žižek is overexposed seems to call for an explanation of what “overexposed” means, and why it applies.  For example, a discussion of that concept in view of Žižek’s well-known critique of liberalism’s inability to cope with the destructive power of envy seems apropos.  Or perhaps something out of Bourdieu or another branch of sociology?

Slavoj Žižek – Quasi Duo Fantasias: A Straussian Reading of “Black Panther”

Link to a review of the film Black Panther (2018) by Slavoj Žižek:

“Quasi Duo Fantasias: A Straussian Reading of ‘Black Panther’”

 

Bonus Links: “Woke Hollywood? The Marketing of Black Panther” and “The Politics of Batman” and War and Revolution: Rethinking the Twentieth Century and “Making Greater Possibilities Inconceivable: Another Thought or Two on the Logic of Lesser Evilism” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War”

Slavoj Žižek on Victimhood Status

“one should . . . admit how problematic it is to anchor one’s political demands to status of victimhood. Is the basic characteristic of today’s subjectivity not the weird combination of the free subject who believes themselves ultimately responsible for their own fate and the subject who bases their argument on their status as a victim of circumstances beyond their own control? Every contact with another human being is experienced as a potential threat – if the other smokes, if he casts a covetous glance at me, he already hurts me; this logic of victimization is today universalized, reaching well beyond the standard cases of sexual or racist harassment.”

Slavoj Žižek, “Sex and ’68: Liberal Movement Revolutionized ‘Sexuality’ But at What Cost?”

Bonus links: “The Politics of Identity” and “Art and Exploitation: Ai Weiwei, Dissidence and the Refugee Crisis”

Timothy Bryar – Preferring Zizek’s Bartleby Politics

Link to an article by Timothy Bryar:

“Preferring Zizek’s Bartleby Politics,” International Journal of Žižek Studies, Vol 12, No 1 (2018).

 

Bonus links: Crowds and Party“Rimbaud’s Systematic Derangement of the Senses” and “John Cage’s Queer Silence or How to Avoid Making Matters Worse”

Bonus quote: “When the self ceases to exist, the world exists.” Alejandro Jodorowsky, The Finger and the Moon: Zen Teachings and Koans

Slavoj Žižek – Alt-right Trump Supporters and Left-wing Bernie Sanders Fans Should Join Together to Defeat Capitalism

Link to an article by Slavoj Žižek:

“Alt-right Trump Supporters and Left-wing Bernie Sanders Fans Should Join Together to Defeat Capitalism”

Bonus quote:

“The fear not to make any compromises with the alt-right can muddy the degree to which we are already compromised by it. One should greet every sign of this self-critical reflection which is gradually emerging and which, while remaining thoroughly anti-fascist, casts also a critical glance on the weaknesses of the liberal left.

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“The obscenity of the situation is breath-taking: global capitalism is now presenting itself as the last protection against fascism, and if you try to point this out you are accused of complicity with fascism.”

“Today’s Anti-fascist Movement Will Do Nothing to Get Rid of Right-wing Populism – It’s Just Panicky Posturing”

 

Bonus links: “15 Writers Confess the Worst Thing They Wrote in 2017” and “Why We All Love to Hate Haider”