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Slavoj Zizek

Slavoj Zizek — A self-described Marxist philosopher, sociologist, and cultural critic, Slavoj Zizek is senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology at the University of Ljubljana. He received a Doctor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Ljubljana and studied psychoanalysis at the University of Paris VIII with Jacques-Alain Miller and Francois Regnault. In 1990 he was a candidate with the party Liberal Democracy of Slovenia for Presidency of the Republic of Slovenia (an auxiliary institution, abolished in 1992). Since 2005, he has been a member of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts.

Zizek is well known for his use of the works of 20th century French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan in a new reading of popular culture. He writes on many topics including the Iraq War, fundamentalism, capitalism, tolerance, political correctness, globalization, subjectivity, human rights, Lenin, myth, cyberspace, postmodernism, multiculturalism, postmarxism, David Lynch, and Alfred Hitchcock. In an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Pais he jokingly described himself as an “orthodox Lacanian Stalinist”. In an interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! he described himself as a “Marxist” and a “Communist.”

One of the problems in outlining Zizek’s work and ideas is that for the layperson he seems to change his theoretical position (for instance, on whether Lacan is a structuralist or poststructuralist) between books and sometimes even within the pages of one book. Because of this, some of his critics have accused him of inconsistency and lacking intellectual rigor. Zizek argues that it is not the task of the philosopher to act as the Big Other who tells us about the world but rather to challenge our own ideological presuppositions. The philosopher, for Zizek, is more someone who criticises than someone who tries to answer questions.

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