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Demanding the Impossible Paperback – 6 Sep 2013

3.9 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Polity Press; 1 edition (6 Sept. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745672299
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745672298
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.3 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 239,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"Zizek is, in fact, the most formidably brilliant exponent of psychoanalysis, indeed of cultural theory in general, to have emerged from Europe in several decades."
Terry Eagleton

"Zizek is to today what Jacques Derrida was to the ′80s: the thinker of choice for Europe′s young intellectual vanguard."
The Observer

" an excellent introduction to both the breadth and depth of Zizek s ideas, made all the better to follow his arguments via an imaginative format of short thematic interviews."" an excellent introduction to both the breadth and depth of Zizek s ideas, made all the better to follow his arguments via an imaginative format of short thematic interviews." "An excellent introduction to both the breadth and depth of Zizek s ideas, made all the better to follow his arguments via an imaginative format of short thematic interviews." The Substantive

About the Author

Slavoj Zizek is a professor at the European Graduate School, International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck College, University of London, and a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.


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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I like Zizek, and I like this book. It is set out in the form of an interview, but the questions are very short, and the answers are a nice length - no more than a couple of pages or so each.

Zizek seems to delight in being provocative, and his bombastic wit and personality shines through here. His arguments are persuasive and range across a number of topics: the credit crunch, the arab spring, Chavez...

The central question here is one of 'the common good' and the Zizek considers how we can bring about social change for the better. He has some interesting solutions, and highlights the problems with other ideological approaches, such as environmentalism, which he sees as contradictory - if environmentalists are serious about saving the planet, he says, we should all live in one big dirty city, concentrating the negative effect of humanity on one spot instead of spreading our muck all across the world in little outcrops of pollution. This is a perfect example of Zizek's confrontational thinking and methods; methods which make for amusing and thought provoking reading.

Through all of this, the right balance is struck between complex ideas, accessible language and contemporary illustrations, making the book lucid and easy to read.
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By ShammyB TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 2 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The most important thing about books like this one is not how well they read, but how well they increase your own political sense of the world, and how they can change your argument on vital *current* themes (which, incidentally, is why most of my Marxist books hit the bottom of the bin some years ago -the *current* part is long gone for most of them!).

So, let me take you through two of my big world views after reading this book. The first involves the concept of `Commons', which is arguably the most important leftist issue of the day. The second involves my view on education (and particularly how Michael Gove and the Tories want to change it). Both these arguments have been significantly reshaped by reading this book, and to my mind, are the best indication of how good (or otherwise) this book this is...

'Commons'

One of the most notable recent interviews (at least on social media) has been the Newsnight interview with Russell Brand. Although his spiel was high on emotive platitude and low on answers, he did touch on an argument that is the core of the politics of most alt-left wing people today: the concept of `commons'. Commons refers to the things that capitalism should not own, and should pay to put right when it gets broken. It refers to freedoms and privacy as well as the more obvious one - the environment. Brand's argument is flawed because the concept of `commons' is usually chosen on the basis of self-interest rather than the `greater good', and is actually just as damaging as capitalism itself...

I used to live in an idyllic village in rural Somerset. One of the farmers put in planning permission to turn his fields into a housing development.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
For those of us who access Zizek mainly through his writing this is an interesting possibility of a book. Is it a good summa of Zizek's thought, something that is sharp and incisive that gives you a flavour of his recent thought? Or is it fairly empty and lacking in the richness of Zizek's own books?

More of the latter I'm afraid. After the disappointing Less Than Nothing - a rambling, inchoate typical middle-quality Zizek book - this shorter book is even worse. Go back to his early writings. I think he has no solution, or his obsession with the need for new masters seems to recycle a standard Lacanoan cliche.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Salvoj Zizek is that rare phenomenon a hugely entertaining Marxist with a penchant for discussing Pixar alongside the Proletariat. Having previously reviewed his dense if fascinating "Living in the end times" he is a thinker with important things to say. Although you must be prepared to wade through some cultural and psychoanalytic gymnastics along the way some of which take patience testing to whole new realms. This newish book "Demanding the Impossible" is an altogether different beast. Essentially it is a series of longish answers to interview questions dealing with a wide range of subject matter, this includes North Korea, the rise of China, the Arab Spring and the decline of Western Europe. The book has advantages in that it is one of Zizek's easier reads, its disadvantages are that without the discipline of the pen and the page you sometimes wonder what question he is answering. The questions themselves are more overtly political than cultural although it wouldn't be Zizek if along the way we did not have Swedish police reports, Terry Gilliam's "Brazil" and the chilling spectacle of Vladimir Putin singing "Blueberry hill" thrown in for good measure. The other problem is that Zizek is reaching instant conclusions on fast moving events and thus his analysis of Egypt's potential following the resignation of Mubarak now seems rather rose tinted in light of recent history. Alternatively his analysis of the almost labour camp conditions for the foreign workers who build the skyscrapers and shopping malls in the shiny citadels of oil rich states like Qatar and actually far outnumber native Qatarisis is very well done. His warnings about the potential social impacts of this seem well founded and he predicts labour explosions to follow.Read more ›
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