Synopses & Reviews
Call it the year of dreaming dangerously: 2011 caught the world off guard with a series of shattering events. While protesters in New York, Cairo, London, and Athens took to the streets in pursuit of emancipation, obscure destructive fantasies inspired the world’s racist populists in places as far apart as Hungary and Arizona, achieving a horrific consummation in the actions of mass murderer Anders Breivik.
The subterranean work of dissatisfaction continues. Rage is building, and a new wave of revolts and disturbances will follow. Why? Because the events of 2011 augur a new political reality. These are limited, distorted—sometimes even perverted—fragments of a utopian future lying dormant in the present.
"Renegade philosopher and cultural critic Zizek (Living in the End Times) again attempts to goad us from our comfortable political positions and rethink the philosophical and social meaning of 2011's major protest movements including the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street. Drawing heavily on Marx and Hegel, Zizek probes the nature of these movements as they seek to fight the system of antagonistic capitalism without contributing to its enhanced functioning. For example, those involved in Occupy Wall Street, he observes, are 'reacting to a system in the process of gradually destroying itself' as they wake 'from a dream that has turned into a nightmare.' Similarly, despite the democratic elections forced by the Arab Spring, such protest movements have not flourished, and the cultural landscape is eerily bleak for the moment. Zizek argues that subterranean dissatisfaction still exists. We should view such movements as 'limited, distorted (sometimes even perverted) fragments of a utopian future' whose greater potential flickers in and out of dormancy. Zizek's staccato prose is often maddening as it jumps quickly from idea to idea, often repetitiously, without offering us a pause to ponder, but he's as provocative as ever, forcing us to confront contentious matters head-on without flinching." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The renowned philosopher finds a utopian future in worldwide protests.
2011 was the year of dreaming dangerously: we all witnessed (and participated in) a series of shattering events. Emancipatory dreams mobilized protesters in New York, on Tahrir Square, in London and Athens - and there were the obscure destructive dreams propelling the mass murderer Breivik and racist populists all around Europe, from the Netherlands to Hungary. The subterranean work of dissatisfaction is continuing: rage is accumulating and a new wave of revolts will follow. Why? Because the events of 2011 were signs from the future: we should analyze them as limited, distorted (sometimes even perverted) fragments of a utopian future which lies dormant in the present as its hidden potential.
About the Author
Slavoj iek 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 iek, and many more.