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Subjective Turn

Subjective Turn

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Published by Andrew Glynn

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Published by: Andrew Glynn on Jul 25, 2011
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TheSubjectiveTurninZizek   
July24,201
AsaHegelian,Zizekmightbeexpectedtoendorsethesituationof theendofsubjectivityintheabsoluteself-identicationofsubjecandobject,therealastheself.Infact,likeBadiou,heturnsawafromHegel'sresultinarepositingoftherevolutionarysubject.Ibothcasesthereappearstobeasensethattosublatemetaphysicalreexiveself-consciousnessintheexperienceoftherealityoftheselistogiveupthepossibilityofpoliticalstruggle.Zizek'srejectionof Gelassenheitappearstobefoundedonthesameinterpretationofthe perspectivevomEreignisasapassivegivingupofanychallenge tothecurrentorderThesiteofthisgivingup,struggleitselfasthepointoftherevolu- tionarysubject,isproblematicgivenZizek'sformulationofcapitalismasthealreadyrealized'permanentrevolution'.Struggle,asthe struggleoftherevolutionarysubject,couldonlyaddtotheenergy ofexpansioninherentinthe'permanentrevolution'ofcapitalismStruggleitself,then,hastocontainthe 
sam
contradictionascapitalismitselfNeitherHeidegger'slaterworknorhisearlierisnotabout'peaceful passivity'.Whendiscussing,earlyon,thepolisoftheGreeks,Heideggerspecicallydiscussedthecrueltythatunderlaythepolisas partofitsnecessarypreconditions
IfpeopletodayfromtimetotimearegoingtobusythemselverathertooeagerlywiththepolisoftheGreeks,theyshouldnot suppressthissideofit;otherwisetheconceptofthepoliseasilbecomesinnocuousandsentimental.Whatishigherinrankiswhat isstronger.ThusBeing,logos,asthegatheredharmony,isnoteasilyavailableforeverymanatthesameprice,butisconcealed,as opposedtothatharmonywhichisalwaysmereequalizing,theeliminationoftension,leveling. 
Heidegger'sGelassenheitdoessubvertthenotionofstruggle,thoughinfavourofthenotionof 
strife 
.Strifeisinherent,forHeidegger,i
 
suchnotionsasthefourfold.Whatdierentiatesstrifefromstruggle, suchthatstrugglecontainsthesamecontradictionthatsustainsthe capitalistpermanentrevolutionitself,whilestrifedoesnot? Hegelpositedthelogicofidentityanddierence,thefoundationof metaphysicallogic,astheinherentcontradictionwithinmetaphysical logic.Ifstruggleasthetelosoftherevolutionarysubject,capitalisasthelogicofpermanentrevolution,andtechnologyasthelogicof revealingthroughequivalenceexhibitthisprecisecontradictionthishouldn'tsurprise,giventheircommonfoundationinthatlogic. Ifwetakeasanexampleofstrife,theinherentconictbetweenculturethatdoesnotacceptthevalidityofothercultures,andany neighbouringculture,wecanpickoutwhatdistinguishesstrifefrom struggle.Theantagonisticculturedoesn'tclaimtherighttonot acceptothercultures'validit
becauseitisdieren
.Itsimplyasserttheclaimbecausethat'sthewayitseesthings.Theneighbouring cultureassertsitsrighttodefenditselfbecauseitisbeingattacked, notbecauseithasthe 
righttobedierent 
fromtheantagonisticulture.Inthecaseofstruggle,however,itispreciselythedierence thatisdefendedratherthantheactuality.Lookingattheabovsituationfromtheperspectiveofstruggle,therightofeverysociet
tobedierent 
isposited,ratherthantherighttobe 
itsel
.Thinherentcontradictionbecomesapparentinthequestionofwhether asocietywhosedierenceconsistsinnotacceptingothers'dierencehastherighttothatdierence. Therevolutionarysubject,asthepermanentsubjectofsubjective permanentrevolution,cannotbepositedasfree.AsZizekhimselpointsout,beginningfromadiscussionoftheAmishtraditionof Rumspringa 
Inorderforthemtohaveagenuinelyfreechoice,theywouldhavetbeproperlyinformedaboutalltheiroptions,edu-catedinthemthe onlywaytodothis,however,wouldbetoextricatethemfromtheiembeddednessintheAmishcommunity,thatis,ineect,tomake themEnglish.Thisalsoclearlydemonstratesthelimitationsofthe standardliberalattitudetowardMuslimwomenwearingtheveiltheycandoitifitistheirfreechoice,notanoptionimposedon thembytheirhusbandsorfamily.Themomentwomenweartheveiasaresultoftheirfreeindividualchoice(say,inordertoexpresstheiownspirituality),however,themeaningofwearingtheveilchanges completely:itisnolongerasignoftheirbelongingtotheMuslicommunity,butanexpressionoftheiridiosyncraticindividuality; 

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