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Living in the End Times [Format Kindle]

Slavoj Zizek

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

“The most dangerous philosopher in the West.”—Adam Kirsch, The New Republic

“Fierce brilliance ... scintillating.”—Steven Poole, The Guardian

“Žižek is to today what Jacques Derrida was to the 80s: the thinker of choice for Europe’s young intellectual vanguard.”—The Observer

“Such passion, in a man whose work forms a shaky, cartoon rope-bridge between the minutiae of popular culture and the big abstract problems of existence, is invigorating, entertaining and expanding enquiring minds around the world.”—Helen Brown, Daily Telegraph

“Žižek weaves together psychoanalytic and historical materialist theories with great panache.”—Ashley Dawson, Social Text

Présentation de l'éditeur

Zizek analyzes the end of the world at the hands of the “four riders of the apocalypse.”

The underlying premise of the book is a simple one: the global capitalist
system is approaching an apocalyptic zero-point. Its four riders of the
apocalypse are the ecological crisis, the consequences of the biogenetic
revolution, the imbalances within the system itself (problems with
intellectual property, the forthcoming struggle for raw materials, food
and water), and the explosions of social divisions and exclusions.

Society’s first reaction is ideological denial, then explosions of anger at
the injustices of the new world order, attempts at bargaining, and when
this fails, depression and withdrawal set in. Finally, after passing through
this zero-point we no longer perceive it as a threat, but as the chance for
a new beginning. or, as Mao Zedong might have put it, “There is great
disorder under heaven, the situation is excellent.”

Žižek traces out in detail these five stances, makes a plea for a return to
the Marxian critique of political economy, and sniffs out the first signs
of a budding communist culture in all its diverse forms—in utopias that
range from Kafka’s community of mice to the collective of freak outcasts
in the TV series Heroes.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1927 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 521 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 1844677028
  • Editeur : Verso; Édition : Rev Upd (18 avril 2011)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00G2DO1B8
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  • Composition améliorée: Activé
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Amazon.com: 3.5 étoiles sur 5  24 commentaires
224 internautes sur 244 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An Important Work from a Great Contemporary Philosopher 5 juin 2010
Par Clarissa's Blog - Publié sur Amazon.com
If I had to recommend one contemporary philosopher for everybody to read, it would definitely be the great Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek. Oblivious of what his prissy colleagues in the academia might think, he gives equal space in his analysis to Husserl, Hegel, Hollywood and Heroes (an American TV series). I tend do disagree with many things that this passionate Marxist and devoted follower of Lacan says but his writing is so brilliant that each new book by him makes me jump for joy right in the bookstore. At over 400 pages long, Living in the End Times is Zizek's most important political statement so far in his fruitful intellectual career.

Zizek is the kind of philosopher who never stoops to triviality. He challenges every preconceived notion we might have. This is the reason why he mocks the concept of tolerance that enraptures liberals, ridicules the practice of recycling, criticizes Mahatma Gandhi as somebody whose struggle to protect the rights of the Untouchables ended up perpetuating the caste society, and ridicules the familiar trope that "globalization thratens local traditions and . . . flattens differences." Those who acquire an ironic distance from ideology and laugh at its tenets are - according to Zizek - most fully under the control of ideology. It is precisely Zizek's willingness to analyze critically every concept that others tend to hold as holy that has led him to be vituperated by pretty much every political group imaginable. If you want a book that will tell you things you already believe, Living in the End Times is not the kind of reading you will enjoy. If, however, you want to be forced to question and to think, Zizek is the philosopher for you. If anger motivates your analytical capacities, then rest easy: Zizek is guaranteed to shock you out of an intellectual aporia.

According to Zizek, we are living through a moment of crisis that our global capitalist system is undergoing. Zizek uses the well-known scheme of the five stages of grief in order to address our collective responses to the crisis. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance give name to the chapters in Zizek's book. There is a certain sense of discontent with the way the system in question functions, says Zizek. There is a danger that this discontent will be appropriated by nationalist populists. The Slovenian philosopher believes that the main task of the progressives is to avoid this and find a way to articulate this discontent in progressive terms.

Zizek's criticism of "today's ethical-legal conservatives" is convincing and incisive, as usual. Their struggle is futile because what they are trying to recreate simply did not exist in the first place: "In wanting to recreate the lost order. . . they will sooner or later be forced to admit not that it is impossible to restore. . . the old traditional mores to life, but that the corruption they are fighting in the modern permissive, secular, egotistic, etc. society was present from the very beginning." Try analyzing pretty much any aspect of the moralistic agenda of the Conservatives and you will see how they are trying desperately to "preserve" a system that - unlike what they would have us believe - isn't time-hallowed in the least.

Zizek points out that in spite of their internal contradictions the conservatives are pretty successful at channeling the growing popular discontent with the current state of affairs to their own ends. He calls the progressives to stop being afraid of radical change. Nobody can guarantee that the revolution will "work", he says. And we'd be wrong to ask for such a guarantee. But we are nearing the apocalyptic moment of a complete disintegration of the current global order. Zizek insists that the only responsible thing for today's progressives to do is to be ready to provide a viable and radically different alternative. We have to come out of our state of denial and recognize that trying to modify the existing system so that it would be somehow "better", "fairer" or "more just" is a completely useful enterprise.

Whether you agree with Zizek's agenda or not, the questions he raises in this book definitely merit to be asked.
36 internautes sur 44 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 A Conservative Reading of Zizek 29 avril 2012
Par Etienne ROLLAND-PIEGUE - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
There was a time when conservative intellectuals could engage their progressive brethren in a discussion on the interpretation of Marx and Freud. They would refer to the same canonical texts, raise abstruse points of doctrine, and discuss each other's perspectives in cross-references and detailed readings. Coming from the right or from the left of the political spectrum, they would meet on common ground and benefit on both sides from their intellectual exchange. In the French context, Raymond Aron, a conservative intellectual if there ever was one, would provide the best introduction to Marx for generations of students; and his disciple François Furet would give serious consideration to Marxist historiography of the French revolution as exemplified by Albert Soboul. In the US, Alan Bloom would confess that his education "began with Freud and ended with Plato," and he counted leftist intellectuals like Susan Sontag among his best friends.

One important condition for such meetings of minds was that politics be left at the door. Die-hard conservatives could engage leftist radicals on intellectual subtleties in Marx, Freud, and their epigones precisely because they excluded politics from their discussion. Of course, their debates were all about politics; but like good-mannered social guests, they conspicuously avoided the topic at the dinner table. If they did discuss politics, it was on a joking or self-depreciative mode. Of course, bourgeois counter-revolutionaries would be hanged and disemboweled when the proletariat avant-garde takes power. Naturally, leftist intellectuals were proto-terrorists on the loose who should be brought to justice and punished for their pernicious influence. But the great fight between the two camps was forever deferred to an uncertain future; in the meanwhile, they had so much to share and to learn from each other!

A reason I relish Zizek and keep coming back at him despite all odds is because he reminds me of this past period of intellectual exchanges across the political spectrum. Unfortunately, this tradition has all but disappeared from our cultural horizon. Marx and Freud only subsist in obscure corners of academia, where their commentary has become a cottage industry without any grip on contemporary debates. For all practical purposes, Marx and Freud are dead. For many conservatives, this is a welcome development. It clears the way for a world bereft of ideologies. But--and this is an insight I share with Zizek--ideology is at its most potent when it is denied as such by the bearers of authority. Today the fundamental level of constitutive ideology assumes the guise of its very opposite: non-ideology. As Zizek underscores, we live in an era which perceives itself as post-ideological. But it is precisely when we adopt ironic distance and look down on the absurdity of our faith that ideology exerts its strongest hold over us. As Lacan would have it, "les non-dupes errent". Those who think they see through the veil of false beliefs and shared lies are transfixed by the dominant dogma through and through.

As Zizek writes, the "spontaneous" state of our daily lives is that of a lived lie or a conscious dream, to awake from which requires a continuous struggle. Breaking oneself free of ideological fetters requires more than intellectual smartness. It is an act of courage, a struggle against oneself in which one must be ready to put conscience on the grill. This is where Marxism and psychoanalysis are useful references: they are struggling thoughts, or combat disciplines. Not only do they understand life in terms of a struggle, be it class struggle or subconscious resistance. They are thoughts engaged in a struggle, and they can provide weapons that one can turn against oneself to break free of our invisible chains. Here, whether these doctrines are true is only of secondary importance: an engaged truth, writes Zizek, is measured "not by its factual accuracy, but by the way it affects the subjective position of enunciation." The stones in our head need to be pulverized, blood needs to flow again into our clogged arteries, and we have to wake up from our intellectual slumber.

Zizek provides us with such a wake-up call. His call to arms is intellectual dynamite, and he stands ready to blow it all. His specific angle, which seduces so many readers, is to mix philosophical references with a running commentary on the imbecility of our mass culture. Here I must confess that part of his impact is missed on me. I am not familiar with most of his references to pop culture. His analysis of Hollywood movies, TV series, and best-seller novels or rock band concerts provide entertaining interludes, but they are not part of the core of his thinking which I find most stimulating. They provide a sort of reality check to some Lacanian formula or Hegelian concepts: if a complex thought can be rendered trivial and debased to the point of futility, then it must contain a kernel of truth. The same holds true of his constant provocations: as Einstein said, "if at first an idea does not seem absurd, then there is no hope for it." Or Adorno: "nothing is more true in psychoanalysis than its exaggerations."

Much more valuable to me than his references to modern trivia are Zizek's close readings of classical texts by Marx, Hegel, Schelling or Kant. These are the parts some readers are tempted to skip, and indeed his digressions on low-brow cultural productions amid long dissertations on high theory sometimes provide a useful break, allowing the reader to catch his breath and gather his spirits. But the challenge of philosophy remains the most fascinating. Here I think that Zizek's contribution is twofold. First, he has mastered the art of reading one author through the lenses of another: Hegel through Lacan, Marx through Kant, or Marx and Hegel as commented by modern critics like Chantal Mouffe or Kojin Karatani. These rare encounters allow the philosopher-in-training to broaden his horizon and to discover new aspects of canonical authors through unfamiliar angles. Second, Zizek is a master of dialectical reversals, unexpected conclusions, and shifts of perspectives known as parallax. His favorite trick is to show how two opposites are really the two sides of a same coin when seen from a third perspective. This allows him to savagely attack liberal progressives, who are shown as objective allies of reactionaries.

What are we to make, then, of Zizek's politics? How do we interpret his urge, very apparent in this book, to offer a running commentary on various political issues? Some people may be attracted by his call for a new kind of political engagement and by his vocal positions on the issues of the day, but to me they provide little more than shock value. I suspect many readers feel the same: few people would read Zizek to learn about his personal positions about climate change, biogenetic research, or the plight of the Congolese people. True, some readers may show interest for his "radical emancipatory politics", but to me his political stance only mixes the boisterous, the bizarre and the burlesque. I am ready to offer Zizek a chance as a philosopher and as a social critic, but not as a politician. Like Popper wrote, "I do not believe that human lives may be made the means for satisfying an artist's desire for self-expression."
99 internautes sur 126 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Good -- but so what? 6 décembre 2010
Par Ferdino - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Despite being a fan of capitalism, I have also been a fan of Zizek, a very creative thinker indeed. Before reading this latest book of his, I would have meant only positive connotations with the word 'creative'. Now, however, I am beginning to think of his creativity as that of someone who looks at passing clouds and points out interesting shapes that you did not see there before. Yes, it is cool, yes it is ticklish, to be shown the contours of yet another ideological element. Show Zizek a Barney episode, and he will tell you how the dinosaur's colorful costume is meant to instill in children a blind celebration of capitalism, etc. But this shtick is bound to eventually get old. And it seems that with this book, that tide is starting. At some point, you expect the critic of a system to offer an alternative, or else just shut up and get on with it. Zizek, like all other rambunctious detractors of capitalism, does no such thing: neither telling us what he wants, nor shutting up. True, scattered throughout his books are some intimations of the idea that he wants us to create public spaces within but still outside capitalism. But he never develops this idea further, and quickly relapses into mining popular movies for fancy cloud shapes that reinforce the Freud-Lacan-Marxist preconceptions.

And a word on the title. It is misleading. There is very very little in the book about the implications of the latest economic crisis for capitalism as a system. Of course, it is a ripe topic, but strangely Zizek barely touches on it. Instead, you get a rehash or recasting of his observations from prior books. There are half a dozen or so cases where he literally repeats previously-served anecdotes and examples, barely paraphrased. But, giving the timing, it was a good business decision to name the book what it is named.

In conclusion, I would still recommend this book ... but only if being tickled is your goal. For a serious and original social critique, look elsewhere. If you have read any of Zizek's recent books, consider that you have already read this one too.
29 internautes sur 38 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 a hodge podge of ideas,assertions and observations 9 août 2011
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
I wanted to read a book that gave me a damn good explanation of these troubled times.I had read in a variety of reviews of Zizek's Hegelian ability to critically analyse the implicit contradictions of modern liberalist Bourgoise mode of production drawing on a synthesis of Hegel,Marx and Lacan.I expected that Zizek would be able to say what this synthesis was and to describe, using illustrations from our modern deteriorating world,how he was able to overcome contradictions between these great thinkers.After all there are large differences in the very basic views of Marx and Lacan about what it is to be human.Marx, despite Althusser, was not a structuralist.He understood Humans to have the ability to change their world including the world of language.Humans, for Marx, are free though not in conditions of their own choosing.For Lacan however,humans are very much subjects of language,the human ego is, along with consciousness, by its inception incapable of overcoming its alienation from the world.I looked forward with pleasure to finding out how Zizek overcame these and other contradictions between these thinkers.I did so in vain.What I found was a hodge podge of assertions and observations used to instantiate Zizek's idiosyncratic use of a variety of concepts drawn from these writers as well as a variety postmodern writers. In the introduction Zizek complains that he,like Sartre,is misunderstood by those on the right and the left.He may well feel misunderstood but that's where the comparison ends.Sartre was able to produce an explicit and coherent theory drawing on a number of disparate sources,he was able to demonstrate how he overcame contradictions and incompatibilities to produce his own original work.Zizek dosn't.Instead Zizek churns out his ideas about the degeneration and fall of global the capitalist way of life as if he dosn't need to provide the reader with his framework for doing so.Lots of concepts from Hegel,Marx,Mao,Lacan and others with occasional cross references to each other, but no solid explanation. I suspect that he dosn't have one,I also suspect that his fans are busy praising him because its the thing to do.He is the favoured bad boy of modern philosophy.In my opinion what he's not is a great philosopher.I say this because philosophers like Hegel and Marx were able to give explanations for the world,for what it is to be human in a human world.They gave clarity about a world that seemed incomprehensible.All Zizek does is illustrate social,economic,moral and epistemic contradictions that have been adequately demonstrated many times before.So liberalist ideology has a dirty underbelly, even its so called egalitarianism is based upon its inherent inequality.None of this is new.Despite all the hype I am very disappointed by this book. In the end our present mode of life cant even produce an intelligensia that knows the difference between real philosophy and hodge podge. Instead they loudly applaud what at times sounds like the meanderings of an intelligent drunk.
10 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 All about the world of today 8 mai 2011
Par Birte Gam-jensen - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Zizek is an important and resourceful critic of our world and the way we commit politics today.
This marvelous book is firstly about the end of global capitalism but also posing the question: What if democracy is no longer a condition and a motor for the economy but an obstacle to further development of global economy? It turns out that the communism of China seems more fit to provide for the poor of the world than the capitalism of the Western world.

Zizek provides all the unpleasant truths which we have never longed to hear - such as the fact that for the past decade four million people have been killed in Congo as a result of `mafia-mining' financed by foreign companies who need the raw materials for the production of laptops and cell phones.

He also has the impertinence to imply that the motivation that caused Josef Fritzl to rape his daughter and keep her and her kids locked up for years is the same I-am-the-father-of-the-family-gene that drives captain von Trapp from Sound of Music.

Most of his theories are chocking and plausible and one can only envy the capability to elegantly include an amazing number of theorists (Marx, Hegel, Kant, Lacan), the philosophy behind the newest movies, politics and literature - and the ability to make it work simultaneously as edutainment and provocation.
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