‘Violence: Six Sideways Reflections’ by Slavoj Žižek

First published by Picador in 2007. Download link updated on 20. June 2021.

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In this passionate plea for awareness, Žižek turns his unflinching gaze on the capitalist democracies we live in. The book discusses the inherent violence of globalization, capitalism, fundamentalism, and language: it brings new light to the Paris riots of 2005, questions the permissiveness of violence in philanthropy, explores the bloody totalitarian regimes of the last century, analyses that violence which is named ‘divine’ and reflects on the powerful image and determination of contemporary terrorism.

Violence takes three forms: subjective (crime, terror), objective (racism, hate-speech, discrimination), and systemic (the catastrophic effects of economic and political systems)—and often one form of violence blunts our ability to see the others, raising complicated questions.

Does the advent of capitalism and, indeed, civilization cause more violence than it prevents? Is there violence in the simple idea of “the neighbor”? And could the appropriate form of action against violence today simply be to contemplate, to think?

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