‘On Žižek’s Dialectics: Surplus, Subtraction, Sublimation’ by Fabio Vighi

Published by Continuum in 2010.

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On Žižek’s Dialectics explores the theoretical and practical potential of the psychoanalytic method deployed by Slavoj Žižek by investigating its epistemological implications within our contemporary capitalist universe. The book begins by evaluating Zizek’s account of the capitalist ideology of enjoyment through the analysis of Lacan’s critique of Marx’s surplus-value. If the originality of Žižek’s wager lies in the claim that enjoyment secretly sustains our ideological space, can we think of surplus-jouissance in a way that not only unmasks the ruse of capitalism but also adumbrates the construction of an alternative social space? The answer to this question is developed in the second part of the book. Arguing that the transformative potential of Žižek’s epistemology needs to be fully unravelled if it is to avoid the risk of congealing into mere academic exercise, Fabio Vighi attempts to politicise Žižek’s groundbreaking critical method by calling upon the necessity to translate its emphasis on the ‘indigestible’ surplus of knowledge into the drive to think the new. Under the current conditions, this creative moment can no longer be delayed.

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