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Adventures of the SymbolicPost-marxism and Radical Democracy$
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Warren Breckman

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231143943

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231143943.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 18 May 2022

Of Empty Places

Of Empty Places

Žižek and Laclau; or, The End of the Affair

(p.216) Chapter Six Of Empty Places
Adventures of the Symbolic

Warren Breckman

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines Slavoj Žižek's development from post-Marxism to revolution. Žižek's evolution from the primacy of the symbolic to an unintended repetition of the movement that culminated in Marxist desymbolization was accompanied by verbal fireworks and tenuous interpretations, for example of Ernesto Laclau or Jacues Lacan. He attempted to combine reductionism and voluntarism into what he calls a “positive vision” that he identifies now with “communism,” now with “Leninism,” and then again with the terrorist actions taken by self-defined leftist groups in Peru or Vietnam. In so doing, Žižek is trying to “fill in the hole,” to overcome the indeterminacy, and to secularize the transcendence of the political to the social. In addition to discussing the dramatic shift in his own politics, this chapter considers Žižek's views about universality and his critique of Jacques Derrida's religion without religion.

Keywords:   post-Marxism, Slavoj Žižek, revolution, symbolic, Leninism, universality, Jacques Derrida, religion, Marxism

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