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In Defense of Lost Causes by Slavoj Zizek
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In Defense of Lost Causes (original 2008; edition 2009)

by Slavoj Zizek (Author)

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499450,104 (3.66)4
Is global emancipation a lost cause? Are universal values outdated relics of an earlier age? In the postmodern world, ideologies of all kinds have been cast in doubt. In this combative new work, renowned theorist Slavoj iek takes on the reigning postmodern agenda with a manifesto for several 'lost causes'.… (more)
Member:FurfuralAndVanillin
Title:In Defense of Lost Causes
Authors:Slavoj Zizek (Author)
Info:Verso (2009), 504 pages
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In Defense of Lost Causes by Slavoj Žižek (2008)

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If ever there was a great example of Deleuze and Guattari's conception of postmodernism as a rhizome, this is it. Ostensibly, the book aims to show how "lost causes" like Nazism, Leninism, Stalinism, and so on provided positive elements in the revolutions of history. Žižek blends high and low cultures effortlessly to create a confusing patchwork where everyone from fundamentalists to liberals are both right and wrong in everything they say and do--hence, the rhizomatic conception of our postmodern age, wherein there is no center. If, like me, you've heard of Žižek and perhaps seen the documentary on Netflix (THE PERVERT'S GUIDE TO IDEOLOGY) and are looking to understand him further, this is probably not the place the start. Still, I will say that I took away a few nice little quotes, although a handful aren't original to Žižek. For e.g. "An enemy is someone whose story we have not heard." ( )
  chrisvia | Apr 29, 2021 |
“Ideology is strong exactly because it is no longer experienced as ideology… we feel free because we lack the very language to articulate our unfreedom.”

In Defense of Lost causes is a difficult and disparate book. Wait, strike that, it is a rolling expanse of intriguing philosophical situations.Žižek isn't playing a long game as much as gesticulating at a number of possibilities while distinguishing between the smooth and the striated. Such appears to be part and parcel for his oversized Ideas books. In Defense isn't an act of revisionism. Instead it is a backward glance. The book strains from History's burden at time at when "torture was normalized, presented as something acceptable." It is such and adjustment in ethics which prompts this tally of revolution's failures, perhaps to discern a footpath to avoid our present dread. Switching gears from Heidegger and the Nazis to Foucault and the Iranian Revolution, the author arrives at a rationale for how Stalinism saved the world. Without smiling, the case is made that Lenninst/Trotskyite either/or would've led to a dehumanized mechanistic Soviet reality. It was Stalin in the form of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat and the purges which restored a human element to the Soviet Union. If the Show Trials didn't require confessions and thus maintain a collective empathy/complicity of citizenship then fast forwarding to the Cuban Missile Crisis any negotiation with the Americans would've been impossible. That's quite a bite to chew upon. That said, it does engender thought and a generous begging of questions. The book ends with a nod to the concept of divine violence and its allowances. This is hardly convincing in an airtight manner but it does provoke.
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  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
Well. This is definitely something.

Zizek is one of the more baffling modern philosophers I've read. It's tough to follow his mental gymnastics. I find myself agreeing totally with him, and then blanching at what he says next. Some of his topics are utterly bizarre - an attempted defense of STALINISM? Seriously? I can't imagine the double-think possible there, if I didn't read it with my own eyes.

Zizek is hardly coherent. But he is confounding and challenging, and damn if he isn't interesting, though. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
One of the chunkier works Zizek has produced, but well worth the effort of reading it. A intense political exploration that stands against most of the values we hold so dear today via Kafka, Spielberg, Mel Gibson, Agamben, Laclau and Mouffe, Badiou, Lenin, Hitler, Heidegger and Deep Impact. Always thought provoking, always interesting, always alarming. ( )
1 vote mrclarinet | Aug 20, 2008 |
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Auf verlorenem Posten (Suhrkamp) and Die bösen Geister des himmlischen Bereichs: Der linke Kampf um das 21. Jahrhundert are both partial editions (teilausgabe) of In Defense of Lost Causes. They should not be combined with each other nor with the full work.
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Is global emancipation a lost cause? Are universal values outdated relics of an earlier age? In the postmodern world, ideologies of all kinds have been cast in doubt. In this combative new work, renowned theorist Slavoj iek takes on the reigning postmodern agenda with a manifesto for several 'lost causes'.

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