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Violence (Big Ideas) Paperback – 10 Jan 2008

3.7 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Paperback, 10 Jan 2008
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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books; Main edition (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: 3.7 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,689,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


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)


Slavoj Zizek is one of the most important cultural theorists of our times. Tickets for his lectures sell out weeks in advance and a peer reviewed journal is devoted to his work. But his capacity to fascinate the uninitiated and subvert the rules of academia has taken his fame far beyond the world's lecture halls. So who better to cast six sideways glances on the subject of violence than 'the giant of Ljubljana', an intellectual icon and enfant terrible, and to launch this groundbreaking new series?The premise of Zizek's theory is that the subjective violence we see - violence with a clear identifiable agent - is only the tip of an iceberg made up of 'systemic' violence, which is essentially the catastrophic consequence of the smooth functioning of our economic and political systems. With the help of Marx, Engels, Sartre, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Lacan, Brecht and many more, Zizek examines the hidden causes of violence, delving into the supposed 'divine violence' which propels suicide bombers and the unseen 'systemic' violence which lies behind outbursts, from Parisian suburbia to New Orleans.

For Zizek, the controversial truth is that sometimes doing nothing is the most violent thing you can do. He calls for a forceful confrontation with the vacuity of today's democracies - using an unconventional plethora of references: Hitchcock, Orwell, Fukuyama, Freud and more.

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