The Sublime Object of Ideology

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Verso, 1989 - Philosophy - 240 pages
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In this provocative and original work, Slavoj _i_ek 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 Wagner to science fiction, from Alien to the Jewish Joke, the author’s acute analyses explore the ideological fantasies of wholeness and exclusion which make up human society.

_i_ek takes issue with analysts of the postmodern condition from Habermas to Sloterdijk, showing that the idea of a ‘post-ideological’ world ignores the fact that ‘even if we do not take things seriously, we are still doing them’. Rejecting postmodernism’s unified world of surfaces, he traces a line of thought from Hegel to Althusser and Lacan, in which the human subject is split, divided by a deep antagonism which determines social reality and through which ideology operates.

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. In so doing, The Sublime Object of Ideology represents a powerful contribution to a psychoanalytical theory of ideology, as well as offering persuasive interpretations of a number of contemporary cultural formations.

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Review: The Sublime Object of Ideology

User Review  - Eric Phetteplace - Goodreads

Zizek's first book. It feels more like a book than some of his other stuff (which are obviously essay collections) but still could use some coherence. Ideology is an interesting topic but often times his use of Lacan is too easy and doesn't add anything new to previous interpretations. Read full review


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About the author (1989)

Slavoj Zizek 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 Zizek, and many more.

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