For They Know Not What They Do

For They Know Not What They Do : Enjoyment as a Political Factor

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Psychoanalysis is less merciful than Christianity. Where God the Father forgives our ignorance, psychoanalysis holds out no such hope. Ignorance is not a sufficient ground for forgiveness since it masks enjoyment; an enjoyment which erupts in those black holes in our symbolic universe that escape the Father's prohibition. Today, with the disintegration of state socialism, we are witnessing this eruption of enjoymnet in the re-emergence of aggressive nationalism and racism. With the lid of repression lifted, the desires that have emerged are far from democratic. To explain this apparent paradox, says Slavoj Žižek, socialist critical thought must turn to psychoanalysis. "For They Know Not What They Do" seeks to understand the status of enjoyment within ideological discourse, from Hegel through Lacan to these political and ideological deadlocks. The author's own enjoyment of "popular culture" makes this an engaging and lucid exposition, in which Hegel joins hands with Rossellini, Marx with Hitchcock, Lacan with Frankenstein, high theory with Hollywood melodrama.

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  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 129.54 x 193.04 x 33.02mm | 430.91g
  • Verso Books
  • LondonUnited Kingdom
  • English
  • 1844672123
  • 9781844672127
  • 61,755

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"The Elvis of cultural theory." Chronicle of Higher Education"

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About Slavoj Zizek

Slavoj Žižek is a Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic. He is a professor at the European Graduate School, International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck College, University of London, and a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. His books include "Living in the End Times," "First as Tragedy, Then as Farce," "In Defense of Lost Causes," four volumes of the Essential Žižek, and many more.

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