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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ideology for Perverts?
I bought this having been intrigued by Zizek's latest movie 'The Pervert's Guide to Ideology'. As a non-specialist and a non-academic, I have to say I found it a very challenging read. Zizek takes for granted that his audience will have a thorough and detailed understanding of Kant, Hegel, Marx, Freud, Lacan, Foucauld and Althusser. I don't, and as an occasional and...
Published 17 months ago by Rough Diamond

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poorly articulated and examplification often filling in for expalnation.
What Zizek is saying that's true isn't particularly new and what he's saying that's new often enough isn't true or at least doesn't ring as necessarily true . Whenever I question Zizek readers about what they understood about what they read I get the distinct impression that they understood very little other than he's the in thing and very complicated. I started reading...
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ideology for Perverts?, 18 Oct. 2013
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Rough Diamond (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Sublime Object of Ideology (Essential Zizek) (Paperback)
I bought this having been intrigued by Zizek's latest movie 'The Pervert's Guide to Ideology'. As a non-specialist and a non-academic, I have to say I found it a very challenging read. Zizek takes for granted that his audience will have a thorough and detailed understanding of Kant, Hegel, Marx, Freud, Lacan, Foucauld and Althusser. I don't, and as an occasional and dilettantish dabbler in philosophy and critical theory, I found myself having to backtrack and re-read passage after passage to grasp the thread of Zizek's thought.

I'm glad I persevered. Zizek's attempt to synthethise Freudian / Lacanian psychoanalysis with Marx's theories of commodity-values and capital is truly heroic in its ambition. By orchestrating arguments from both sides of the tracks, I think Zizek comes up with something genuinely original, and disturbing, about how ideology operates in (post-)modern Western society. In doing so, he give us some properly mind-boggling, perception-warping nuggets of insight. I should however warn any non-academic reader that they will need to fight hard for them, through many dense thickets of (for me at least) complex and difficult theory. If only it were a little easier to understand I might have given this the five stars it probably deserves!

Congratulations to Verso Books, not just for re-issuing this book at all, but for the exceptionally high quality of the printing and binding. This is a book that has been built to withstand multiple re-readings, and which looks and feels absolutely beautiful.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The lighter side of nihilism, 17 Jun. 2010
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C. Harman (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Sublime Object of Ideology (Essential Zizek) (Paperback)
Zizek's first book is a journey into the vacuum at the heart of ideology and 'the subject' himself. He reaches Hegel via a long journey exploring the thinking of Lacan - the Hegel that opposed Kant's idea of a more concrete, transcendant 'thing in itself' lying behind mere appearance. Hegel, rather, saw that behind appearance lies nothing other than our own subjectivity, a subjectivity which is based on an illusory, formal construct. Ideology itself is presented as another construct of this type, at the heart of which is the empty space of 'the real'. Zizek also presents Lacan's themes of 'che vuoi?', in which the limitations of ideology are seen in relation to human nature, and the psychoanalytic perpective on the 'symptom'. According to Lacan it was Marx who invented the symptom and, in the context of this book, can be seen as a motivation for ideological thought. Zizek is however more than just a barrow-boy for these 2 influential thinkers, and offers his own insights and a welcome entertainment value in the form of many references to works of art and cultural icons.
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12 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent book, 3 April 2010
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M. AL-HILAL (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Sublime Object of Ideology (Essential Zizek) (Paperback)
this is one of the best books. I bought this book, and I also intend to translate it into arabic so that other people who do not spak english can read it.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poorly articulated and examplification often filling in for expalnation., 19 Nov. 2014
This review is from: The Sublime Object of Ideology (Essential Zizek) (Paperback)
What Zizek is saying that's true isn't particularly new and what he's saying that's new often enough isn't true or at least doesn't ring as necessarily true . Whenever I question Zizek readers about what they understood about what they read I get the distinct impression that they understood very little other than he's the in thing and very complicated. I started reading his first chapter 'How did Marx invent the symptom' and found it partially okay, although largely he's only repeating what Marx,Engels,Lenin and Gramsci have always said that peoples ideology is in what people do or what Marx terms 'life activity' and that their life activity leads their cognition of the world. But then he started to bring in Lacan with an example from a film called 'Another Country' and things started to get murky with his exclamations about peoples inner dynamics with no real explanation given. As an example of this is his claim that people can only communicate if there is a gap between the mask or social front they show tp others and what they actually do. And that if people don't have this gap for any length of time then this makes communication impossible with others and that this coincidence between the two is intolerable. Why ?, this in fact contradicts what he had previously been saying about Blaise Pascal's advice that if you want people to believe in a religious faith get them to act as if they do i.e. get their life activity to be consistent with the religion by following the rituals even if they don't believe and eventually they will believe. The problem for me isn't just that he's contradicting himself it's that he's making assertions without providing a real explanation for them. And on and on throughout the book. Film and literary examples are fine but not when what they're supposed to be exemplifying isn't properly articulated. Zizek doesn't seem to me to be able to distinguish between description and explanation. In short he doesn't make much sense, instead of an explanation he postures.
As far as Zizek and Marx are concerned Zizek doesn't seem to know Marx's 'Capital' that well. When I read his first chapter I was surprised by his description of fetishism under Capitalism given his claim that Marx says social relationships under feudalism are obscured in the same way that the relationship with commodities are obscure in capitalism, but that the social relationships between people within capitalist society were transparent. Marx however went to great lengths to demonstrate that the central social relationship between capital and the proletariat, the basis for all other relations under the rule of capital, are not transparent but obscure i.e. Workers get paid for the sale of their labour power and not their labour (workers are paid for their necessary labour time and the capitalist takes the rest as surplus value but there is an obscuring for both workers and capitalists about this distinction between labour power and labour i.e. both believe they are paid for a full days work.), but the peasantry and their masters, under feudal relationships, know quite well what's been given and what this is in return for (and yes there is a reciprocal systemic relationship between the identities of rulers and ruled in feudalism which can't be explained using an epistemology of cause and effect but that doesn't support the argument that their social relationships are obscure).This is the very opposite to what Zizek claims is Marx's description of the difference between the two systems. For myself this lack of basic understanding of Marx's theory of production under the rule of capital calls into question Zizek's whole take on understanding why the participants of capitalism go on with it. And this in turn calls into question his intervention with his theory of ideology. I could understand him constructing an alternative theory to Marx if he was able to accurately identify a gap or lacunae in the theory and then attempt to provide a better explanation. But I can only presume he hasn't understood Marx based on this non trivial error of assuming social relationships within capitalism, between and within classes, are transparent. I'm sure that Zizek knows Althusser's work on Marxism and ideology but I'm quite doubtful about him having any really deep understanding of Marx's 'Capital'.
Zizek is a prolific writer and he's lauded as a great modern philosopher. I don't thinks so. I think he's popular but not great. Despite his claim to be a communist and dialectical materialist I think he's an idealist. Not in the sense that he doesn't believe in a real material world but in the sense that he believes that ideas change history and that by having some sort of blue print some people can lead humanity to a better future. Unfortunately there's been a deterioration amongst the modern intelligentsia and they can't spot this because they don't have a proper understanding of the Marx's dialectic. He certainly wouldn't be able to get away with a lot of his material 50 years ago.
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0 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars for what they have suffered, 30 Sept. 2012
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This review is from: The Sublime Object of Ideology (Essential Zizek) (Paperback)
Good book. Now I would like reading the version for the Jews.
In this version WE would be the others and the Jews would be the centre of the world
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The Sublime Object of Ideology (Essential Zizek)
The Sublime Object of Ideology (Essential Zizek) by Slavoj Zizek (Paperback - 1 Jan. 2009)
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