Zizek's The Sublime Object of Ideology: A Reader's Guide

Author(s) : Rafael Winkler

Zizek's The Sublime Object of Ideology: A Reader's Guide

Book Details

  • Publisher : Bloomsbury Publishing
  • Published : June 2024
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 192
  • Category :
  • Category 2 :
    Lacanian Psychoanalysis
  • Catalogue No : 97736
  • ISBN 13 : 9781350425651
  • ISBN 10 : 1350425656
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First published in 1989, The Sublime Object of Ideology was Žižek's breakthrough work, and is still regarded by many as his masterpiece. It was an iconoclastic reinvention of ideology critique that introduced the English-speaking world to Žižek's scorching brand of cultural and philosophical commentary and the multifaceted ways in which he explained it. Tying together concepts from aesthetics, psychoanalytic theory, cultural studies and the philosophy of belief, it changed the face of contemporary commentary and remains the underpinning of much of his subsequent thinking.

This compelling guide introduces all of the influential thinkers and foundational concepts which Žižek draws on to create this seminal work. Grounding the text's many and varied references in the work of Peter Sloterdijk, Saul Kripke, Walter Benjamin, Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida, Immanuel Kant and G.W.F. Hegel, amongst others, helps students who are encountering this mercurial writer for the first time to understand the philosophical context of his early explorations. Each of Žižek's key arguments are unpacked and laid out, alongside an invaluable account of how The Sublime Object of Ideology impacted the critical terrain on which it landed.

Table of Contents


Part I: Context
The Habermas-Foucault debate, and Althusser
Laclau and Mouffe; Antagonism and the Real of the Drive

Part II: Overview of Themes

Part III: Reading of the text
Section 1
1.1 What is Money?
1.2 Exchange; Alfred Sohn-Rethel
1.3 Cynical consciousness; Peter Sloterdijk
1.4 Belief and Ideology
1.5 Althusser; Interpellation and Misrecognition
1.6 Kant and the Law
1.7 Disidentification

Section 2
2.1 Retroactivity (Nachträglichkeit)
2.2 Error as the Way to the Truth
2.3 Desire and Lack
2.4 Trauma redux
2.5 The Form of Ideology

Section 3
3.1 (a) The Constitution of Sublime Objects
3.2 The Quilting Point; Laclau and Mouffe's Hegemonic Logic
3.3 Descriptivism vs. Anti-descriptivism
3.4 The Essence or 'je ne sais quoi' of the Object
3.5 (b) The Constitution of the Subject and Enjoyment (Jouissance)
3.6 Imaginary and Symbolic Identification
3.7 'Che vuoi?'
3.8 Fantasy
3.9 The Real
4.0 Ideology Revisited

Section 4
4.1 Symbolic and Physical Existence; Symbolic and Physical Death
4.2 Benjamin's 'Theses on the Philosophy of History'
4.3 Power and its Representation

Section 5
5.1 'There is No Metalanguage'; Derrida and Dissemination
5.2 Lacan and 'Lenin in Warsaw'
5.3 The Real Revisited
5.4 Freedom and the Forced Choice; the Real
5.5 Lack, the Subject, and the Ontological Inconsistency of the Big Other
5.6 The Ideological Function of objet a
5.7 The Subject Presumed to …

Section 6
6.1 The Indefinite Judgment, Lack, and Negation
6.2 Beauty and the Sublime; the Pleasure Principle and its Beyond
6.3 From Kant to Hegel; Lack and Negativity
6.4 'Spirit is a Bone'
6.5 Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit and the Heroism of Flattery
6.6 The 'Beautiful Soul' and Positing the Presuppositions

Part IV: Reception and influence

About the Author(s)

Rafael Winkler is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy, University of Johannesburg, South Africa.

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