Zizek's passion for the real: the real terror, terror of the real
Devenney, Mark (2007) Zizek's passion for the real: the real terror, terror of the real Continuum Press, London, UK.
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Devenney’s chapter in this 'riveting collection of essays[which]provokes from [Zizek] a response that might rank among the very best of his many polemical interventions' (Rifkin, Middlesex University) interrogates Zizek’s mobilising of Lacanian psychoanalysis to develop his account and critique of contemporary capitalism. Devenney argues that Zizek idealises the notion of the political act as an event breaking with an established order, and further posits that he fails to provide a robust anddefensible account of contemporary capitalism. His text elicited a robust reply from Zizek, countering Devenney’s specificclaims, and published in the book’s conclusion.Devenney’s chapter is contextualised by the contributions of established European and US scholars also published in this book, which has sparked a significant international debate. Devenney’s contribution redefines the political implications of post-structuralist thought. Contrary to other theoreticians, Zizek has consistently insisted on a critical politics while drawing on the theoretical developments broadly termed post-structuralist. His insistence on a critical politics, Devenney asserts, demonstrates failure to engage both theoretically and empirically with the very politics that Zizek proposes as so critical. This critique of Zizek’s work furthers Devenney’s substantial research project developing an account of contemporary capitalism that draws upon the various critiques of Marxism and insisting upon a critical engagement with the hegemonic social structures. Devenney’s considered polemic complements his earlier Ethics and Politics in Contemporary Theory (2004), which developed a similar analytical framework in relation to Habermas and Laclau.
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