by Slavoj Zizek - £9.99 Profile Books (2009)
paperback ISBN 13: 9781846680274 | ISBN 10: 1846680271
Does the advent of capitalism and, indeed, civilisation cause more violence than it prevents? Is there violence in the simple idea of 'the neighbour'? And could the appropriate form of action against violence today simply be to contemplate, to think?
In this passionate plea for awareness, Zizek turns his unflinching gaze on the capitalist democracies we live in. He explores the bloody totalitarian regimes of the last century and that violence which is named 'divine'.
Drawing on high and low culture, Kant, Lacan, jokes and contemporary cinema, this celebrated academic turned philosophical icon discusses the inherent violence of globalisation, capitalism, fundamentalism and language, in a work that will confirm his standing as one of our most erudite and incendiary modern thinkers.
The premise of Zizek’s theory is that the subjective violence we see – violence with a clear identifiable agent – is only the tip of an iceberg made up of ‘systemic’ violence, which is essentially the catastrophic consequence of the smooth functioning of our economic and political systems.
With the help of Marx, Engels, Sartre, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Lacan, Brecht and many more, Zizek examines the hidden causes of violence, delving into the supposed ‘divine violence’ which propels suicide bombers and the unseen ‘systemic’ violence which lies behind outbursts, from Parisian suburbia to New Orleans. For Zizek, the controversial truth is that sometimes doing nothing is the most violent thing you can do. He calls for a forceful confrontation with the vacuity of today’s democracies – using an unconventional plethora of references: Hitchcock, Orwell, Fukuyama, Freud and more.
This is a book poised to set a new agenda for our thinking about violence.
(Price & availability last checked: September 2018)