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Awkwardness: An Essay Kindle Edition

3.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Length: 97 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Product Description


It is easy to write a deep book on a big crucial concept like anxiety love or evil but it takes a true master to do for awkwardness what Heidegger in his Sein und Zeit did for anxiety and this is what Kotsko does. In his book which combines philosophical stringency with references to popular culture awkwardness is elevated into a universal singularity: a prismatic knot in which our entire historical moment is reflected. If this will not become an instant classic then we really live in awkward times. --(Slavoj Zizek, Slovenian continental philosopher & Professor at the European Graduate School)

About the Author

Adam Kotsko holds a PhD from the Chicago Theological Seminary. He is the author of Zizek and Theology and blogs at The Weblog and An und fur sich.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 414 KB
  • Print Length: 97 pages
  • Publisher: John Hunt Publishing (26 Nov. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004GHMU7O
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #504,364 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Eleanor TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 29 May 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Awkwardness fascinates me, chiefly because, as Kotsko writes, 'awkwardness is not a property of a situation that could be objectively observed as though from the outside - if you are observing awkwardness *as* awkwardness, then you are drawn into the awkward situation yourself'. But why are awkward situations so excruciating? Why does awkwardness spread in this way?

Kotsko discusses three types of awkwardness, everyday awkwardness (where social norms are violated), cultural awkwardness (where society has moved on and the old social norms do not fit as well), and finally radical awkwardness (where there are no social norms at all). After an introductory chapter invoking Heidegger and Hegel (although in a very accessible way), Kotsko examines these three types of awkwardness through the lens of "The Office" (UK and US versions), Judd Apatow's films, and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" respectively.

Kotsko's essay is an intelligent and stimulating read. I felt he really got under the skin of awkwardness and the programmes he analyses (although readers not familiar with them might get less out of the discussions and are inevitably going to come across spoilers). The book ends by offering a rousing solution (or maybe accommodation) to the problem of awkwardness. I might be tempted to give it a try next time I'm in an awkward situation, although the very thought is inducing that familiar cringing feeling...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was disappointed in this book as it did not deliver any significant insight. There is too much reference to the characters and plots of certain television series, recalling in detail these TV shows with no thorough critique. Very dull! Personally, I would rather there be more theoretical or philosophical references. The chapter dealing with Heidegger was unfortunately very small in comparison to the rest of the book.
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Format: Paperback
A speculative purchase that I was very happy with. Simple yet profound. No need for an existing expertise but insightful even if you're already familiar with the area. Cheap and short - well worth the risk.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9e690660) out of 5 stars 7 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e8db330) out of 5 stars A Pleasant Surprise! 18 Mar. 2013
By Sean C - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
My parents bought me this book for Christmas because they saw the author's name on another book that I had been reading on a visit, and because all the books on my Amazon witness seemed to lean into a world they didn't want to encourage (it was a lot of queer theory and Marxist stuff; not what gets evangelical parents excited). It's a book about TV; who wouldn't want that!

Well, generally me. I spent the better part of my undergrad attending and contributing to the meetings of a certain association that studies both popular and American culture, and by the end of undergrad had become increasingly frustrated with the lack of honest rigor to almost all of the analysis out there. At a certain point, I just became totally disinterested in analysis of popular culture; even the most respected academics I encountered seemed to simply engage in a kind of smart-sounding fandom.

I say all this simply to highlight the fact that what Kotsko has written here is far from that. In fact, if one reads this book, one might find that what seemed lightweight due to its subject matter and avoidance of unnecessary jargon sneaks in a both cogent and rigorous analysis of human sociality and possibilities for political act.

Anyway, just read it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e8db918) out of 5 stars Indispensable and insightful cultural criticism 18 Mar. 2013
By Josh - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Despite the bounty of the Internet, it's still hard to come by thoughtful and enjoyable criticism of pop culture at book length. Most of the really heavy hitters right about music -- consider Greil Marcus's books -- but there's precious little when it comes to either comedy or television. This book (and its follow-up Why We Like Sociopaths) is among the best in class -- like the best long essays, it builds an argument slowly, carefully and -- crucially -- enjoyably, and after a few chapters in, you've not only got a whole new way of looking at the comedy of the past ten years but you also understand a fair bit of Heidegger.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9df7ce70) out of 5 stars enjoyable 21 Jun. 2012
By xtan - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Kotsko's work is a noble effort to capture the feeling and meaning of awkwardness, leveraging the role of popular culture as a reflection of ourselves. This book is perfect for anyone who's enjoyed Apatow's movies, Curb your Enthusiasm, or The Office, and has a taste for thinking about human culture and relationships.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e6a103c) out of 5 stars A great read 4 April 2012
By Paul Ennis - Published on Amazon.com
I'm surprised this book does not have any reviews yet. It's a great mix of pop culture and philosophy written in an accessible style. There are insights all over the place about just why it is that we have become fascinated by awkwardness. Full marks with no reservations.
HASH(0x9e6a11c8) out of 5 stars Very Interesting! 2 Oct. 2013
By Dakota Flournoy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Kotsko's style of writing and subject matter are extremely accessible and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. He brings up so many things I had never even thought of before, like America's history of awkwardness and where it has left us today. Very thought-provoking but still sort of a baby project. I hope he returns to this essay in the future to expand his ideas further.
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