Did Someone Say Totalitarianism?: 5 Interventions in the (Mis)Use of a Notion

Did Someone Say Totalitarianism Interventions in the Mis Use of a Notion In some circles a nod towards totalitarianism is enough to dismiss any critique of the status quo Such is the insidiousness of the neo liberal ideology argues Slavoj i ek Did Somebody Say Totalitari

  • Title: Did Someone Say Totalitarianism?: 5 Interventions in the (Mis)Use of a Notion
  • Author: Slavoj Žižek
  • ISBN: 9781859847923
  • Page: 224
  • Format: Hardcover
  • In some circles, a nod towards totalitarianism is enough to dismiss any critique of the status quo Such is the insidiousness of the neo liberal ideology, argues Slavoj i ek Did Somebody Say Totalitarianism turns a specious rhetorical strategy on its head to identify a network of family resemblances between totalitarianism and modern liberal democracy i ek argues thIn some circles, a nod towards totalitarianism is enough to dismiss any critique of the status quo Such is the insidiousness of the neo liberal ideology, argues Slavoj i ek Did Somebody Say Totalitarianism turns a specious rhetorical strategy on its head to identify a network of family resemblances between totalitarianism and modern liberal democracy i ek argues that totalitarianism is invariably defined in terms of four things the Holocaust as the ultimate, diabolical evil the Stalinist gulag as the alleged truth of the socialist revolutionary project ethnic and religious fundamentalisms, which are to be fought through multiculturalist tolerance and the deconstructionist idea that the ultimate root of totalitarianism is the ontological closure of thought i ek concludes that the devil lies not so much in the detail but in what enables the very designation totalitarian the liberal democratic consensus itself.

    One thought on “Did Someone Say Totalitarianism?: 5 Interventions in the (Mis)Use of a Notion”

    1. Since this review is bound to get political sooner or later, I’d better put my ideological cards on the table. I happen to be one of those deluded souls whom Slavoj Žižek dismisses as ‘conformist liberal scoundrels’ (though personally I’ve always self-identified as a ‘capitalist running dog’). I’m rather attached to that ‘existing order’ which Žižek and his comrades, in their revolutionary ardour, are so eager to pull down. I like Starbucks, YouPorn and human rights. I have [...]

    2. The more I read of Žižek, the more ambivalent I am towards his work. Although I love his ideas (and believe that Lacanian ontology is probably the only acceptable basis for understanding how we actually live our lives), the biggest problem with his books is that they are, in essence, all the same. They're written in a stream-of-consciousness type of style that tackles themes in a seemingly idiosyncratic manner. They always include a lot of Lacan, some Kant, and some Hegel; and inevitable bashi [...]

    3. Zizek takes on some interesting topics in extremely vivid and lucid prose. Particularly interesting are his analyses of the Stalinist Bolshevik Purges and his Lacanian-employed attacks on Neo-Darwinians (and among my favorite authors) Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett.

    4. I’m not sure if I learned anything by reading this book, but Zizek is an entertaining writer just the same. From the title I expected a discussion of the many uses of the term totalitarianism, but the author eschews this approach. What the book attempts is a psychoanalysis of the concept. We know in Orwellian terms, for example, what happened at the Stalin show trials. Zizek goes beyond that in order to explore the underlying psychology. What did the trials mean for the participants? What purp [...]

    5. This being my first Žižek book, I fully expected to be reading about what he told me he would be writing about. Oh, how, one book later, I now know I was so wrong. At more than one point in the book I stopped and wondered to myself why in the world he's talking about this, and flipped back to the chapter subtitle to see if it had anything to do with what he ostensibly introduced, only to find out I had no idea why. I went into this book thinking it would be more focused on the political aspect [...]

    6. It's a bit of a task trying to draw out the theme of totalitarianism from this book. If you've read Zizek you'll know it's hard to draw out any theme from his books. Much as I like him, he has a tendency to just repeat himself over and over again in every text--even in ways that don't seem linked to an argument.Nonetheless, even if there seem to be tangents, they're insightful and entertaining ones at least. The final chapter was very on topic and sees Zizek almost at his most ferocious.

    7. If I had to recommend a Zizek book to someone, this is the one I'd pick. Relatively accessible and focused on an interesting subject. Skip the extras at the end of the latest edition.

    8. I love Žižek , but he has serious problems sticking to the point. I love his persona, on stage or off stage, I love his anecdotes and charming sophistry, but I just wish his books were a bit more coherent. I adore this book, I loved reading it and will probably read it again, but the flow of his work is always like a sine curve: it oscillates in and out of relevant content.

    9. An interesting look at the different ways the world can be totalized and thinking through the positive and negative consequences of such mental actions. Steeped in critical theory (which I'm a little rusty with), Freud, and Marx, it can be a challenging, but nonetheless engaging read.

    10. This book is certainly a stimulating read. In Zizek's typical style he introduces the book as a meditation on the use of the phrase totalitarianism. What Zizek then serves up is rambling discussion around the subject, drawing on his wide academic interest, ranging from psychoanalysis to dialectical materialism and modern cultural studies.But for all that, he does make you think. The section on the holocaust challenges the reader to reflect on whether there truly is a simple explanation, and what [...]

    11. Here Zizek engages in a rambling series of meditations on the bourgeois-centrist disarmament of the radical left through accusations of totalitarianism. The charge seems so fallacious at first blush to a radical leftist like myself that I was not immediately compelled, but Zizek certainly has incisive insights and confident control of his bibliography. Unfortunately I am so unfamiliar with most of the source material that he dissects so precisely that I found myself restless and distracted when [...]

    12. I could have done without all of the theoretical jargon. All of the Lacanian terminology and references were difficult to understand as someone who is unfamiliar with Lacan's work. I also wish there was more of an explicit thematic thread connecting his smaller points to the main argument of each chapter. Instead, it felt as if he was jumping around a lot.

    13. Most of the content of the book isn't really relevant to what the title/flap says but it's still an interesting read. I read this with a little knowledge of Freud and some Marx; it'd probably be easier to understand with a greater knowledge of Lacan, Marx, and Hegel, as well as maybe some others Žižek mentions frequently like Badiou and Derrida.

    14. So damn thick. With jargon, Lacan, I cannot stand the inside-joke terminology. And yet Zizek still makes you agree with him. This man is definitely the philosopher of the now, of the real. Too hard to get into though.

    15. Zizek has interesting to say and has a pretty entertaining style. The big problem is that there is no apparent through line for these essays = not enough focus. He also gets sometimes bogged down by technical passages that are difficult to grasp even for the informed layman that I am.

    16. Well, it never does get around to the topic of its subtitle. But it does solve the problem of the Trinity, so that's something.

    17. Meanders a lot, which is typical of Zizek. But has some gems of insights against the now waning liberal democratic and postmodern left doxa equating radical collective movements with totalitarianism.

    18. My only issue with the book is the emphasis on Freud. However, Slovoj's mind is brilliant and I plan to re-read sections of it at another time.

    19. Zizek makes complex ideas easy to understand, however some parts of the book were a bit thick and didn't really seem relevant to the over all topic

    20. Zizek starts to get tiresome after you've read a few of his books. Still, I'll probably read a few more before I stop reading him.

    21. This works, that sort of lectures/supports of the one by Hannah Arendt does also include other iscussion, as zizek usually does.

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