Žižek: Beyond Foucault by Fabio Vighi, Heiko Feldner

By Fabio Vighi, Heiko Feldner

In Slavoj Zizek and Michel Foucault, this e-book brings jointly of the main sought after thinkers in modern severe conception. ranging from a severe overview of the Foucauldian paradigm of discourse research, it explores the theoretical scope and political outcomes of Zizek's combination of Lacanian psychoanalysis, Hegelian philosophy and Marxist politics. The comparability among the 2 thinkers throws into reduction the commonalities and irreconcilable transformations in their respective ways to serious thought. by way of unmasking truth as contingent symbolic fiction, the authors argue, Foucauldian feedback has basically deconstructed the area in several methods; the purpose, in spite of the fact that, is `to realize the genuine in what seems to be mere symbolic fiction' (Zizek) and to alter it.

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Ernesto Laclau, one of Zˇizˇek’s regular interlocutors, is a perfect case in point here, since his claim that the veil of ideology conceals a relentless fight for hegemonic space, which articulates itself through a series of discursive appropriations, represents perhaps the most intriguing application of ideology–critical discourse analysis today. e. through a plurality of discursive mechanisms that constitute themselves from below. Zˇizˇek is far from convinced by what he calls Foucault’s ‘suspect rhetoric of complexity’, to the extent that he eventually discards it as ‘a clear case of patching up, since one can never arrive at Power this way – the abyss that separates micro-procedures from the spectre of Power remains unbridgeable’ (Zˇizˇek, 1994b, 13).

The common feature that makes these two modalities two sides of the same coin is the fact that they neglect ‘the “absurd” act of decision which installs every authentic belief, a decision which cannot be grounded in the chain o “reasons”, in positive knowledge’ (see Zˇizˇek, 2006a, 348). Put differently, what is foreclosed from the two postmodern applications of belief is the tertium datur of the abyssal choice deprived of any support in the big Other. Problems inevitably emerge for Zˇizˇek the moment he has to specify the empirical nature of our relationship to this abyssal choice that grounds belief.

Foucault’s dismissal of the negative, repressed, resisting and disturbing surplus of discourse, does more than remove the Real from the radar of discourse analysis. The fact that Foucault dismissed the notion of a cause that is never present in the field of its effects, had important consequences especially for his analyses of power. While in The Order of Things it had still been possible to evade the question of how to account for historical change – Foucault acknowledged that for the time being he was incapable of offering a satisfactory explanation (Foucault, 1970, xiii) – this was no longer an option in his genealogical studies of the 1970s which were explicitly designed to overcome these shortcomings and to account for the (trans)formation of regimes of power and knowledge.

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