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Trouble in Paradise: From the End of History to the End of Capitalism Hardcover – 27 Nov 2014

4.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane (27 Nov. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241004969
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241004968
  • Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 2.3 x 22.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 249,846 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

The most dangerous philosopher in the West (Adam Kirsch New Republic)

Žižek is a thinker who regards nothing as outside his field: the result is deeply interesting and provocative (Guardian)

The most formidably brilliant exponent of psychoanalysis, indeed of cultural theory in general, to have emerged in many decades (Terry Eagleton)

Žižek leaves no social or cultural phenomenon untheorized, and is master of the counterintuitive observation (New Yorker)

Never ceases to dazzle (Brian Dillon Daily Telegraph)

Žižek is to today what Jacques Derrida was to the '80s: the thinker of choice for Europe's young intellectual vanguard (Observer)

About the Author

Slavoj Žižek is a Hegelian philosopher, Lacanian psychoanalyst, and political activist. He is international director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities and the author of numerous books on dialectical materialism, critique of ideology and art, including Less Than Nothing, Living in the End Times, First as Tragedy, Then as Farce and, most recently, The Year of Dreaming Dangerously.


Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In addition to being an eminent philosopher, Slavoj Zizek is also a well-known Marxist theoretician and cultural commentator. Thus, a book about the crisis in global capitalism from a Marxist perspective, from a legitimate Marxist philosopher no less, raises the expectation of new insights into the crisis from a noted social philosopher. Sadly, this is not the case.

Nowadays, writings on the crisis in capitalism are nothing new. This book is unique in that this is the most direct statement from Slavoj ZIzek on capitalism.

The "Paradise" is the promise Fukuyama outlined of the End of History following the downfall of the Soviet Union, discredited by the turn of historical events at the hands of the Neocons for whom the doctrine was addressed. The "Trouble" refers to a movie by Ernst Lubitsch.

On the contrary, the "trouble" is the manner in which ZIzek is presents his thesis. In his own inimitable style, Slavoj Zizek examines the present state of global capitalism. Based on lectures given in South Korea, Zizek discusses the crisis in capitalism in medical and faux medical terms of diagnosis, cardiognsis, prognosis and epignosis. The diagnosis, the present state, cardiognosis (his term), and prognosis, "what is to be done." He also offers his epignosis, a term borrowed from theology, what the new capitalism looks like.

Zizek says that the cure of the crisis in capitalism comes not from capitalism but from communism. A daring hypothesis but one never fully or systematically discussed in the book. He is very vague on this cure. As in previous endeavors, Zizek frequently diverts into cultural observations and such musings are distracting.
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Format: Hardcover
A bit of a mixed bag. Sometimes it shines and I liked his chosen quotes, which illustrate and open up new lines of thought. Sometimes however it feels like grandstanding, especially in choice of language. It feels like clarity and cohesion are sacrificed on the altar of showmanship. Sometimes where he wanders into things I know about I doubt whether he really knows what he's talking about, which makes me wonder about the rest. His conclusion contains a prime example, which I won't spoil - suffice it to say that he lifts a definition of a word straight from the urban dictionary - the equivalent of high school homework by well known search engine/online encyclopedia. The trouble is the urban dictionary is plain wrong. You could maybe forgive this as a literary flourish, but how much of the rest is plain wrong for the same reason?
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Format: Paperback
Zizek has famously written in the past that it's easier for us to imagine the end of the world than it is for us to imagine the end of capitalism. Alas, performing either of these leaps of imagination would be easier than trying to imagine the end of Zizek churning out the same book again and again and again.

As Zizek goes, at least it's a relatively easy read: a super-dense soufflé compared with the supermassive intellectual black hole represented by other recent offerings like Less Than Zero and Absolute Recoil. Most of the fun, and most of the message, can be had from the book's breezy 16-page introduction, which takes in (in no particular order) a Lacanian analysis of North Korean propaganda, the etiquette of visiting Brazilian brothels, Prokofiev's ability to reconcile Stalinism with Christian Science.. plus allusions to Fukuyama, Indira Gandhi, Baudrillard, Brecht, GK Chesterton, the Mayan calendar and Psy's 1,000,000,000th You-Tube hit for his video of Gagnam Style.

Does it make any coherent sense? Does it need to? Zizek's medium increasingly seems to be some sui generis form of intellectual performance art, rather than anything that would be conventionally recognisable as political thought, critical theory or philosophy. Sadly, most of the arguments (and most of the jokes) here will be very familiar to Zizek's regular readers. There's little in this latest volume that the Slovenian maestro hasn't said before, and said better. While it's OK as an accessible point of entry into the bonkers thought-world of Slavoj Zizek, it doesn't really add anything to his existing canon of work. As such it comes across as both ferociously clever and intellectually lazy. Only cautiously recommended, and mainly to brainy left-wing masochists.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Insightful (if not at some points slightly strenuous) analysis of modern public and political events and concepts.

Well worth a read for the uninitiated wanting the most recent application of psychoanalysis and theory to culture and the political equilibrium as of 2014/2015 in true Zizek style.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The problem with most critiques of capitalism is that, in their last chapters, they attempt to state a clear solution to all our problems, be it direct democracy or what have you not. What is really great about this book is that not only it offers a very clear vision of what's wrong in our current system, but also paints an horizon of thoughts that could get us out of the s*** we're in. At the same time, the book is realistic enough to avoid any hard statements about a concrete way out. We're obviously not there yet... At least we're thinking.
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