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Violence (Big Ideas) Paperback – 10 Jan 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books (10 Jan. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846680174
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846680175
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 1.8 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 936,769 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

His diagnosis of this ideology is quite delightful, producing counter-intuitive analyses that overturn what passes for common sense. Zizek rages against the reduction of love to masturbatory self-interest, the multiple hypocrisies of the Israel/Palestine conflict and the supposed liberal philanthropy of Bill Gates and George Soros. There is a fascinating analysis of the scenes of torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, which display, Zizek rightly contends, nothing more than the obscene underside of American culture. (Simon Critchley Independent)

[A]n exhilarating, unsettling read. (The Dubliner)

His prose is dense but never foggy, graced by a wealth of jokes and anecdotes. (Arena)

An essay by the 'Elvis of cultural theory' is wisely chosen to launch a handsome new series on 'Big Ideas'. Violence is nothing if not an exciting read; provocative ideas abound on every page. (Mark Vernon Philosophy magazine)

(I)t is invigorating to find a publisher tackling the great questions of our age... Zizek's thoughtfully provocative book examines violence... the reader is treated to an enjoyable and dazzling display of intellectual pyrotechnics. (Jewish Chronicle)

In a series of fascinating essays, he locates the ruthless pursuit of profit in the structure of language: one linguistic sign leads to the next, pushing desire beyond proper limits in a consumerist thirst for more. (TLS)

Book Description

'The Elvis of cultural theory' confirms his status as the most exciting philosopher in recent history as he explores the nature of violence in typically controversial style. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By . on 31 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is coherent and lucid. It focusses on the conventionally, comprehensibly political. There is a sustained line of argument which is refreshing given the often scattered, repetitive nature of some of Zizek's recent stuff. His thesis is relatively simple: that while the media waxes hysterical about sporadic and incomprehensible outbursts of graphic violence, whose very immediacy and excessiveness short-circuit sustained rational analysis, there is a constitutive and structural violence - principally economic - that sustains the operation of the developed world, and is simply more important. The introduction, in which he sets out his stall, is outstanding. There is a helpful epilogue which summarises the book as a whole and its argument, which is nice. Zizek clarifies his position more often than usual too, and this added sense of nuance and position considerably enriches the usual mixture of brilliant provocation and irony. There is relatively little jargon in it (relatively) and it is pleasingly concrete too, for those among us who like concrete. One comes away from Violence with a clear sense of what Zizek thinks about the way things are, as opposed to a panoply of dazzling apercus and a hodgepodge of abstruse theoretical speculation. Recommended, especially as a way in to Zizek, with a greater than usual emphasis on the political. What a pity he made a tit of himself on Newsnight.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Krapp on 28 Jun. 2013
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I started reading this book when I was having a case of academic writer's block. After reading this book, an exciting, bold and typically provocative text, my ideas began to flow a little easier. Zizek is Nietzschean dynamite, a catalyst for critical thought - whether you agree with his particulars or are skeptical about some of his conclusions. He makes some compelling arguments in the book, and his exploration of multifarious forms of violence is very gripping.
If you are a Zizek fan, this is too exciting a book to not have in your collection. If you are new to Zizek, this is a wonderful place to start. If you are not a fan of Zizek, you are missing out on some wonderful platforms for debate and philosophizing. This book is such a platform, and I would certainly recommend it to anyone interested in the subject matter.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Douglas on 26 Dec. 2011
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This is a fascinating and hugely thought-provoking book by the ever stimulating Slovenian writer. His premise is that violence sustains what we perceive today as the "normal", peaceful state of things. It's refreshing to read Marxist-based thinking and analysis helping to explain so much.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Ian M. Buchanan on 21 Jun. 2009
Format: Paperback
There is a lot of recycled material in this book and a lot that is off the point altogether. So a typical Zizek book. The one idea I found interesting is his explanation of street protests that turn violent, as well as the kind of thing that went on in Paris in 2005, as 'phatic' violence. That is to say, it serves the sole purpose of saying 'I'm here' and 'we're talking'. But Zizek doesn't take it far enough because in fact the phatic requires two interlocutors and its purpose is to keep open the lines of communication. So the obvious point he missed is that the police response is also phatic. By brutalising the protestors, they too are saying 'I'm here' and 'we're talking'. Moreover, if this in fact the case, then this type of protest action will not bring change because it is a routine exchange.
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Another great book from Zizek, essential reading for any Zizek fan, Violence is a great book and an easy read, the last two chapters are my favourite part of the book.
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Certainly not an easly flowing read. Hear people praise and attack the book. If nothing else it certainly generates ideas and thoughts.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Karl-Fredrik Lindegaard on 9 Mar. 2009
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We regularily express our concerns on the preponderance of violence in the world, while (sub)consciously we filter out the essence of this violence, as we go on to live our own. western, protected, lives. For that reason, violence may be used as objects of ideological manipulation. A fundamental trait in today's liberal/democrat society is the condemnation of violence, while only occasionally, if ever, we see violence as a dyad: 'subjective' and 'objective' violence. I hence think that Berthold Brecht put this dyad into perspective in saying: "what is the more violent act; robbing a bank compared to founding one?" In "Violence", Slavoj Zizek points out 'objective' violence as an important substrate, or indirectly causative element, of 'subjective' violence. For this reason alone, this book is strongly recommended.
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