‘The Sublime Object of Ideology’ by Slavoj Žižek

First published by Verso in 1989. Download link and description updated on 26. June 2021.

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The Sublime Object of Ideology was Žižek’s first book to have appeared in English in 1989, which instantly became an astonishing international success of global academic scholarship at that time, and later a classic of philosophical literature, an achievement which even he himself has only attempted to mimic and surpass since then, with more or less luck, in countless later publications that have since been published over the following decades.

Slavoj Žižek traverses the fields of philosophy, psychoanalysis, theology, history and political theory, taking in film, popular culture, literature and jokes—all to provide acute analyses of the complexities of contemporary ideology as well as a serious and sophisticated philosophy. Linking key psychoanalytical and philosophical concepts to social phenomena such as totalitarianism and racism, the book explores the political significance of these fantasies of control.

This provocative and original work takes a look at the question of human agency in a postmodern world. From the sinking of the Titanic to Hitchcock’s Rear Window, from the operas of Richard Wagner to science fiction, from Alien to the Jewish joke, Žižek’s acute analyses explore the ideological fantasies of wholeness and exclusion that make up human society.

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