MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K

Psychopolitics

Psychopolitics................................................................................................................1 1NC (1/6)........................................................................................................................4 1NC (2/6)........................................................................................................................5 1NC (3/6)........................................................................................................................6 1NC (4/6)........................................................................................................................7 1NC (5/6)........................................................................................................................8 1NC (6/6)........................................................................................................................9 Ethics Extension...........................................................................................................10 Ethics Extension...........................................................................................................11 Impact Extension ........................................................................................................12 Impact Extension.........................................................................................................13 ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 1

MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Alternative Impact – Turns Case..................................................................................14 ALT: ENJOY OURSELVES...............................................................................................16 Impact - Ontology........................................................................................................18 Impact -Utopianism = Extermination...........................................................................19 Impact – Violence.........................................................................................................21 Impact - Dehumanization.............................................................................................22 Impact – No Actual Action............................................................................................23 Impact – No Joy/Pleasure..............................................................................................24 Impact – No Joy/Pleasure..............................................................................................26 Impact – Identifying the Other Kills Solvency...............................................................27 Impact – Loss of Freedom............................................................................................28 Impact – Hysteria.........................................................................................................29 Link – the Other............................................................................................................30 Link - Identity Politics...................................................................................................31 Link – Identity Politics (1/2)..........................................................................................32 Link – Identity Politics (2/2)..........................................................................................33 Link - Violence..............................................................................................................34 Link - Ethics..................................................................................................................35 Link - Util Ethics/Performance......................................................................................36 Link - Performance/Discourse......................................................................................37 Link/Turn/AT Biopower ................................................................................................38 Link – Natural Rights....................................................................................................39 Link – Other/Security....................................................................................................40 Link – You Use Money..................................................................................................41 Link – Economic Terms................................................................................................42 Links - Race & Disablity...............................................................................................43 Link – War on Terror.....................................................................................................44 Link - USFG...................................................................................................................45 Turn – Can’t Solve in Fantasy.......................................................................................46 AT: Boothby.................................................................................................................47 AT Symbolic Good/Utopianism Good............................................................................48 AT We help the ‘other’.................................................................................................49 AT: You Cause Violence...............................................................................................50 AT: Perm......................................................................................................................51 AT: Perm......................................................................................................................52 AT Perm.......................................................................................................................53 AT: Perm and Link Turn................................................................................................54 AT: But were helping!..................................................................................................55 AT: Levinas...................................................................................................................56 AT: We Deconstruct Cap/State.....................................................................................57 AT We Deconstruct Cap/State......................................................................................58 AT We Deconstruct Cap/Utopianism fails.....................................................................59 ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 2

MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K AT We Deconstruct Cap/State......................................................................................60 AT: Technology Solves.................................................................................................61 AT: We abandon our ‘master’......................................................................................62 AT: Totalitarianism.......................................................................................................63 AT: Discourse Solves....................................................................................................64 AT: Realism/Case Outweighs.......................................................................................65 Realism Turn................................................................................................................66 AT: ‘Obligation’............................................................................................................67 AT ‘Obligation’.............................................................................................................68 AT: Robinson Tournmeny.............................................................................................69 AT: Robinson Tournmeny.............................................................................................70 AT: Robinson Tournmeny.............................................................................................71 AT: Gibson Gram .........................................................................................................72 AT ‘Badious Ethics ARE Ethics’.....................................................................................73 AT AFF Badiou Indicts..................................................................................................74 Can’t Understand Domination w/o Lack.......................................................................75 Identifying Abject Subject bad.....................................................................................75 Community “Thing”.....................................................................................................76 Truth is Impossible.......................................................................................................77 Solving ‘otherization’ Turn...........................................................................................78 Psychopolitics Bad (1/5)...............................................................................................80 Psychopolitics Bad (2/5)...............................................................................................81 Psychopolitics Bad (3/5)...............................................................................................82 Psychopolitics Bad (4/5)...............................................................................................83 Psychopolitics Bad (5/5)...............................................................................................84 Psychopolitcs Can’t Solve Cap.....................................................................................85 Generic AFF Defense....................................................................................................86 AFF AT: Badiou............................................................................................................87 AFF -Moral Obligation Solves Violence.........................................................................88 AFF AT: Zizek...............................................................................................................89 AFF AT: Zizek...............................................................................................................90 AFF AT - Universalism..................................................................................................91 AFF “Thing” good.........................................................................................................92

~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 3

In this view. Ontologically. etc. of course. fuels dissatisfaction. Celebratory practices associated with the defeat of a national enemy. I The promise of a full enjoyment that escapes our attempts at identificatory capture and that serves as the motor of desire is linked to what Lacan calls the objet petit a. the nation was prosperous and happy. 111). are examples of such experiences of enjoyment. the lack of another jouissance. are frequently based on the supposition of a golden era (Ancient Greece and/or Byzantium for modern Greek nationalism. ZFiek. The important point is that fantasy fosters the solidarity of the national community. festivals. the object-cause of desire. only to he later destroyed by nationalist narratives are rooted in the desire of each generation to try and heal this (metaphoric) castration. lack. Typically. some dark powers and their local sympathizers who want to enslave our proud nation".. 1998. in the subject's economy of desire this "truth" must be actively forgotten. The identity of the evil "Other" who prevents the nation from recouping the enjoyment it has lost shifts as a function of historical context. e. and it is this object that forms the centre-piece of a subject's fantasy. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 4 . and give back to the nation its lost full enjoyment. for example. the obstacle to an evil "Other'. Yannis Stavrakakis professor at the Aristotle University at Thessaloniki. those who "always plot to rule the world''. full enjoyment shifts depending on the specificity of the fantasmatic narrative at stake. “Lacan and Political Subjectivity: Fantasy and enjoyment in psychoanalysis and political theory”) The idea of the subject as lack cannot be separated from the subject's attempts to cover over this constitutive lack at the level of representation by affirming its positive (symbolic. even the success of a national football team. Indeed. this experienced jouissance remains partial: "That's not it' is the very cry by which the jouissance obtained is distinguished from the jouissance expected" (Lacan. and we are dissatisfied with the results we blame our inability to capture this lack on something else.). etc. Nevertheless.imagina ry) identity or when this falls.g. thereby reproducing the fantasmatic promise of — and desire for — its recapture. but the formal logic remains the same. consolidates national identity. Glynos and Stavrakakis 08 (Jason Glynos is a professor at the University of Essex. this tack of total enjoyment is necessary. When Lacanians say that fantasy supports reality (see. the Jewish kingdom of David and Solomon in many versions of Jewish nationalism. and it is this dialectic of confrontation with. Producing an endless fantasy to sustain order. oftentimes the cause of the lack of enjoyment is attributed to someone who has "stolen Romantic nationalist histories. unable to fully satisfy desire. p. etc. immigrants "who steal our jobs". Observation: The 1AC attempts to fulfill a desire by “solving for poverty” however this enjoyment for desire will never be complete. However. It does this by structuring the social subject's partial enjoyment through a series of collective practices (celebrations.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K 1NC (1/6) A.) and by reproducing itself at the level of representation in official and unofficial public discourse (as a beatific narrative and a traumatic scenario). they tend to mean that the credibility and salience of any object of identification relies on the ability of the fantasmatic narrative to provide a convincing explanation for the lack of total enjoyment. and animates national desire. Its momentary character. someone who deprived the nation of its enjoyment. It reinscribes lack in the subjective economy. 1989). consumption rituals. During this imagined golden age. and denial of. which gives rise to the logic of fantasy. It may be a foreign occupier. Greece. through continuous identificatory acts manage to deliver the fullness they promise — would gradually vanish.

‘every purely imaginary equilibrium or balance with the other is always marked by a fundamental instability.’ The ambiguity of the imaginary is primarily due to the need to identify with something external. can never eliminate the real uncoordination of the body of the infant. One important consequence of this is that narcissism starts appearing in a different light. University of Essex. It is not surprising then that when Lacan discusses the idea of the autonomous ego in the ‘Freudian Thing’ it is enough for him to say ‘It is autonomous! That’s a good one!’ ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 5 . the anticipation of synthesis. the first jubilant moment is anticipating its own failure. it can never erase the external and alienating character of its own foundation. ‘always contains within itself an element of difference’: what is supposed to be ‘ours’ is itself a source of ‘alienation’. fueling narcissistic aggression. of alienating tension. different. Fellow. other. 1999. Stavrakakis 99 (Yannis Stavrakakis. Any imaginary unity based on the mirror stage is founded on an irreducible gap: ‘the human being has a special relation with his own image . of a power relation between the infant and its image. subverts the whole idea of a stable reconciled subjectivity based on the conception of the autonomous ego. 118) What is most important here is that in the mirror stage. The ever present gap between the Real and the imaginary is closed by alienation and otherization of the external. What characterizes every narcissistic relation is its deep ‘ambiguity.’ Unity in the imaginary is a result of captivation. the constitutive dependence of every imaginary identity on the alienating exteriority of a never fully internalized mirror image. This ambiguity is never resolved. as constituting the basis of aggressive tension: the imaginary is clearly the prime source of aggressivity in human affairs. in order to acquire the basis of a self-unified identity.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K 1NC (2/6) B.a relation of gap. Implications 1. The implication is that the ‘reflecting specular image’ in imaginary relations. But this captivation.’ This alienating dimension of the ego. In that sense. LACAN AND THE POLITICAL: THINKING THE POLITICS.

1999. 65). if psychoanalytic intervention (and. it must aim between the lines. 2007. 2008). and enjoyment) to explain why and how these instances of self-transgression are possible. This suggests that social and political change may be facilitated through processes of dis-investment and reinvestment. 1989. Greece. by extension. From a Lacanian perspective. then. for instance. but also — and importantly — at the level of fantasy. political intervention. one of Lacan's formulations in defining the ethics (and the end) of psychoanalysis iiek. desire. in turn. acceptance of and obedience to authority is not reproduced only at the level of knowledge and conscious consent. Yannis Stavrakakis professor at the Aristotle University at Thessaloniki. Thus. military communities have practices and codes of conduct that often transgress the public ideals of the institution (ideals like fair and equal treatment) but which are kept secret — the practice of "hazing" or initiation ceremonies. but here we wish simply to register what a Lacanian conception would look like. “Lacan and Political Subjectivity: Fantasy and enjoyment in psychoanalysis and political theory”) All together these approaches yield slightly different conceptions of self-transgression. It is a claim that shares an affinity with similar theses propounded by Bakhtin (1968) and Bataille (1987) who argue that periodic carnivalesque transgressions tend to bolster rather than undermine the social order. 2001. sustains those very same ideals . at the field of fantasmatically structured jouissance. One socio-political implication of such an approach concerns how a self-transgressive practice can sometimes function to support or sustain the ideal being transgressed. declares that [o]rganized transgression together with the taboo make social life what it is (1987.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K 1NC (3/6) 2. the reproduction of this power structure relies on a libidinal. Zupan 6'6. The disorder at the source of our misunderstanding of enjoyment and the underlining discourse of fantasies construct the socio-political situation which constitutes the problem in the first place Glynos and Stavrakakis 08 (Jason Glynos is a professor at the University of Essex. The claim here would be that not only are these ideals not subverted by such practices. Stavrakakis. for instance. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 6 . The established private or officer is well aware that forcing a new recruit to undergo a series of painful and humiliating experiences transgresses the military institution's ideals that he officially avows. but they also make possible the enjoyment of their transgression that. The general claim here is that the transgression of the ideal is accounted for in terms of the enjoyment structured in fantasy. Glynos. Such a psychoanalytic conception of selftransgression would seek to deploy its conceptual apparatus (split subjectivity. Fantasmatically structured enjoyment thus alerts us to the politically salient idea that oftentimes it may be more productive to consider the possibility that concrete ideals may be sustained rather than subverted by their transgression. and critical theory) is to have any effect in these cases. 2003. 2000). and the way it constitutes our desires and sustains various social and political practices. 2000a. It would aim to effect a 'crossing of the fantasy". giving rise to an interesting perspective on classic approaches to the concept of freedom. This is because this transgression (and thus failure to meet a publicly affirmed ideal) can serve as a source of enjoyment. such as those propounded by Isaiah Berlin (1969) or Charles Taylor (1979) (see Glynos. Bataille. Most crucially. fantasy. For example. In sociopolitical terms this crossing implies a particular ethics of relating to the lack in the Other and the fantasmatic narrative which covers it promising new socio-political possibilities. affective support transmitted via fantasy that binds subjects to the conditions of their symbolic subordination. so to speak.

opening discursive space for de-alienation.”’ What is promoted here is an attitude consistent with identifying with the symptom of the social and traversing social fantasy. it enables him to avoid the total alienation in the signifier not by filling out his lack but by allowing him to identify himself. everyone. this localization silencing its significance. Thus.all paradigms used by Zizek in Looking Awry . ‘We all live in Chernobyl!’ or ‘We are all boat people!’ . the excluded truth of the social field (which has been stigmatized as an alien particularity) to the place of the universal . Going through fantasy entails the realization of the lack or inconsistency in the Other which is masked by fantasy. This lack in the Other gives the subject .or when it is argued that we will be in a stronger position to fight anti-Semitism only when the Holocaust is recognized as a true part of all and not only of Jewish history. Recognizing the universality of the lack strips signifiers of their meaning. sustained by its exclusion or elimination. and not just the Jews.so to speak . thinks: “it could have been me . the separation between objet petit a and the Other. by making this declaration of impossibility that it is possible to ‘represent’ the impossible or rather to identify with the impossibility of its representation. Stavrakakis 99 (Yannis Stavrakakis. his own lack. LACAN AND THE POLITICAL: THINKING THE POLITICS.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K 1NC (4/6) C. 1999.a breathing space. hasn’t got the final answer. Identification with the symptom is thus related to the traversing of fantasy. It is only by accepting such an impossible representation. with the lack in the Other. University of Essex.to the point of our common identification which was.we elevate the symptom. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 7 . a separation which is not only ethically sound but also ‘liberating’ for our political imagination: It is precisely this lack in the Other which enables the subject to achieve a kind of ‘de-alienation’ called by Lacan separation [in the sense that it is realized] that the Other itself ‘hasn’t got it’. Fellow. Our Alternative: Identifying with the Other and abandoning ego-formation disrupts social fantasy. only when ‘on finding out what happened.the central slogan in a recent anti-racist protest in Athens . The same happens when we say ‘We are all gypsies!’ . up to now. 133) By saying ‘We are all Jews!’.the victim that is.

Levinas proposes a whole series of phenomenological themes for testing and exploring the originality of the Other. According to Greek thought. adequate action presumes an initial theoretical mastery of experience. suppresses all genuine experience of the Other. through his fleshly epiphany. But. 2001. is that from which I experience myself ethically as 'pledged' to the appearing of the Other. our framework throws off the principle of referential identity in favour of a radical. founded in being-before-the-Same. at the centre of which lies the theme of the face. has subordinated thought to the logic of the Same. Framework 1. and subordinated in my being to this pledge. University of Paris. of the ethics of the relation to the Other. ethics is the new name of thought. It is impossible to arrive at an authentic thought of the ‘Other’. thought which has thrown off its 'logical' chains (the principle of identity) in favour of its prophetic submission to the Law of founding alterity. it is impossible to arrive at an authentic thought of the Other (and thus an ethics of the relation to the Other) from the despotism of the Same. 18-20) Roughly speaking: Levinas maintains that metaphysics. which ensures that the action is in conformity with the rationality of being. ETHICS AN ESSAY ON THE UNDERSTANDING OF EVIL. The Law. The 'thou [tu]' prevails over the 'I'. does not tell me what is. on the contrary. of the singular giving [donation] of the Other 'in person'. but what is imposed by the existence of others. everything is grounded in the immediacy of an opening to the Other which disarms the reflexive subject. to the primacy of substance and identity. So we must push thought over to a different origin. which is incapable of recognizing this Other. It is in the Jewish tradition that Levinas finds the basis for this pushing over. itself conceived merely as the 'objective' identification of regularities and identities. and bars the way to an ethical opening to alterity. Professor of Philosophy. but. according to Levinas. and with respect to theoretical thought. identical to me). indeed. Such is the whole meaning of the Law. primary opening to the Other conceived as ontologically anterior to the construction of identity. which does not test mimetic recognition (the Other as 'similar'. For Levinas.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K 1NC (5/6) D. imprisoned by its Greek origins. ensures the absence of the Other in effective thought. According to Jewish ethics. a non-Greek origin. From this point of departure are deduced laws (in the plural) of the City and of action. What the Law (understood according to Jewish tradition as both immemorial and currently in effect) names is precisely the anteriority. This Law (of the Other) might be opposed to the laws (of the real). ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 8 . The dialectic of the Same and the Other. conceived 'ontologically' under the dominance of self-identity [identite-a-soi]. primary opening to the Other Badiou 01 (Alain Badiou. in Levinas's sense. one that proposes a radical.

something to be inscribed directly in politics. these particularities. presumes that we propose these predicates. ETHICS AN ESSAY ON THE UNDERSTANDING OF EVIL. these communal qualities. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 9 . these singularities. University of Paris. Otherwise. linked to incontestable situations of oppression and humiliation. 2001. I have no preconceptions on that score.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K 1NC (6/6) 2. 108) The progressive formulation of a cause which engages cultural or communal predicates. we have something which has its raison d’etre. claims that seek to be recognized and valued in a determinate relation of forces. is capable of becoming political or not. in my opinion. but which is necessarily of the order of a demand for integration .in the categories. in such a way that they be situated in another space and become heterogeneous to their ordinary oppressive operation.that is. Professor of Philosophy. I never know in advance what quality. but it is not.is less the demand of a social fraction or community to be integrated into the existing order than something which touches on a transformation of that order as a whole. the slogans. even necessary. This is something commendable. the statements it puts forward . it inscribes itself in what I would generally call ‘syndicalism’ [trade unionism] . Only a politics that rejects particularity can achieve real change Badiou 01 (Alain Badiou. of a demand that one’s particularity be valued in the existing state of things. I would call ‘political’ something that . what particularity. a meaning that is intelligible to all. Rather. What I do know is that there must be a progressive meaning to these particularities. particular claims.that is to say.

In abiding by these norms the social subject engages in the practice in a way that exhibits a certain logic. by implication.transgression". thus enabling subjects to engage in acts of renewed identification.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Ethics Extension ( ). Pluralizing subjectivity: social. as non-political. tend to account for the success and failure of work-related activities in terms of psychology or personality. raising questions about whether we can draw a distinction between normative and ethical critique. It is clear that this investigation was partly motivated by a normative worry about an increasingly hegemonic psychologizing social logic (see also Salecl. Such logics would denote a tendency in the discursive patterns (of institutions and actors) to shrink the options available to women to enhance their personal and collective autonomy. and ethical The title of our paper — Lacan and Political Subjectivity — raises the question of when it is appropriate or helpful to qualify subjectivity as political and. The second theme revolves around how fantasy and associated concepts allow us to rethink the relationship between reason and affect through the signifier jouissance matrix. 2008). With the phrase "psychologizing social logic" we designate those discursive patterns that. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 10 . For we could link political subjectivity to the moment in which a social identity is disrupted and contested. When we contest a political identity we take away the ability of the subjugated to make decisions. Our earlier account of identity and identification suggests one way of doing this. in the self-interpretations of actors. 2003 on a similar theme). The logic of fantasy is grounded in making ethical claims plural Glynos and Stavrakakis 08 (Jason Glynos is a professor at the University of Essex. political. The final theme explores how a logic of fantasy and enjoyment allows us to explore what has been called "the problem of self. referred to earlier. The first theme concerns how to think the relationship between political and ethical subjectivity. which we can characterize as a social logic. rather than in terms of wider socio-economic features linked to (missed) collective decision-making opportunities.7 Thinking along the social-political axis in this way enables us to examine the question of critique from a normative perspective because what is at stake are the concrete norms informing a practice. and political subjectivity to those practices in which these norms are actively contested or defended. ideological. Consider Walkerdine's discussion of individuals' workplace fantasies. “Lacan and Political Subjectivity: Fantasy and enjoyment in psychoanalysis and political theory”) An account of the logic of fantasy and enjoyment allows us to draw out some very specific implications. Greece. Yannis Stavrakakis professor at the Aristotle University at Thessaloniki. Vie will organize our thoughts around three key themes linked directly to the concept of subjectivity. In this view social subjectivity can be connected to practices whose norms are taken for granted. Or consider Dean's discussion of what we could call "patriarchal social logics" (Dean.

because he or she is without legal residency papers. ethics prevents itself from thinking the singularity of situations as such. But the same doctor will have no difficulty in accepting the fact that this particular person is not treated at the hospital. because of death rates or laws governing immigration. An ethics of rights demands fatal commodification. 14) Finally. to the greatest possible extent. which is the obligatory starting point of all properly human action. if you prefer: to draw from this situation. and accorded all necessary measures. thanks to its negative and a priori determinations of Evil.to treat this person who demands treatment of him (no intervention here!) as thoroughly as he can. his strict Hippocratic duty would oblige him to resist them. and there is no need for an ‘ethics’ (but only for a clear vision of this situation) to understand that in these circumstances a doctor is a doctor only if he deals with the situation according to the rule of maximum possibility . Once again. can in reality only prevent us from being faithful to it. without taking anything else into consideration. in meetings and commissions. Thus.’ conceived of in exactly the same way as the partisan of human rights conceives of the indistinct crowd of victims . with force if necessary.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Ethics Extension ( ). the doctor won over to ‘ethical’ ideology will ponder. And if he is to be prevented from giving treatment because of the State budget. Professor of Philosophy. the affirmative humanity that it contains. 2001. or not a contributor to Social Security. Badiou 01 (Alain Badiou. ETHICS AN ESSAY ON THE UNDERSTANDING OF EVIL. using everything he knows and with all the means at his disposal. all sorts of considerations regarding ‘the sick. For to be faithful to this situation means: to treat it right to the limit of the possible. ‘collective’ responsibility demands it! What is erased in the process is the fact that there is only one medical situation. then let them send for the police! Even so. the clinical situation. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 11 .the ‘human’ totality of subhuman entities. since they are radically exterior to the one situation that is genuinely medical. University of Paris. Or. ‘Ethical commissions’ and other ruminations on ‘healthcare expenses’ or ‘managerial responsibility’. Or again: to try to be the immortal of this situation. for instance.

what is foreclosed in the symbolic reappears in the real. What we shall argue is that it also resurfaces in the production of the figure of an enemy. The naivety. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 12 .driven out through the door comes back through the window. Lacan identified the utopian dream of a perfectly functioning society as a highly problematic area (seminar of 18 June 1958). is a good example.scapegoat. If in almost all utopian visions. (is not this a . 5 The work of Norman Cohn and other historians permits the articulation of a genealogy of this manichean.the Nazi utopian fantasy and the production of the . To use a phrase enunciated by the utopianist Fourier.s analysis. Put another way. It is then that we are brought close to the frightening kernel of the real: stigmatisation is followed by extermination.?.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Impact Extension ( ).precursor. Simply put. This repressed moment of violence resurfaces. 4 Every utopian fantasy produces its reverse and calls for its elimination. a paranoid need for a stigmatised scapegoat. if utopia is based on the expulsion and repression of violence (this is its beatific side) this is only because it owes its own creation to violence.of utopian structures is revealed when the realisation of this fantasy is attempted. which results in their extermination.s dictum that . This is not an accident. equivalential way of understanding the world. the beatific side of fantasy is coupled in utopian constructions with a horrific side. from the time of his unpublished seminar on The Formations of the Unconscious.A.VII:131). to demonstrate the deeply problematic nature of utopian politics. what is . Attempts such as these try to create an impossible fantasy that only results in violence. It is inscribed in the structure of utopian constructions. violence and antagonism are eliminated. especially as pointed out in . from the great witch-hunt up to modern anti-Semitism.ek. violence will always resurface and plague humanity. it seems to be the way all fantasy constructions work. Without breaking this tie. as Marin points out. Stavrakakis 99 (Yannis Stavrakakis. in the difference inscribed in the name utopia itself (Marin.here the approach to fantasy developed in Chapter 2 will further demonstrate its potential in analysing our political experience. In fact. This utopian discourse only leads to scapegoating. and Lacanian theory can provide valuable insights into any attempt to understand the logic behind this utopian operation. blaming a group for the inability to achieve the fantasy. 1984:110). of Lacan. program in Ideology and Discourse Analysis.and also the danger. it is sustained and fed by violence (this is its horrific side). first of all. my argument will be that every utopian fantasy construction needs a .) What I will try to do in this chapter is.i. “Lacan and the Political” Yannis Stavrakakis is teaching fellow at the department to Government at the University of Essex and director of the M. in order to constitute itself.Jew.

Perhaps the most traumatic case was the debacle of the international solidarity of the worker's movement in the face of "patriotic" euphoria at the outbreak of the First World War. from Edouard Bernstein to Lenin. oblivious of the proclaimed solidarity of the working class "without country. when the socialdemocratic parties of all countries (with the exception of the Bolsheviks in Russia and Serbia) gave way to chauvinist outbursts and "patriotically" stood behind "their" respective governments. bears witness to an encounter with the Real of enjoyment.Pg. It is for that reason that the eruption of the national Thing in all its violence has always taken by surprise the devotees of international solidarity. That is to say.e. and writes a lot. Slovenia.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Impact Extension Failure to acknowledge enjoyment within ourselves leads to violence. and warned them against yielding to "patriotic" chauvinism.. Today. universal notion. the German social democrats cautioned workers that the ruling class would use the assassination as an excuse to declare war. University of Ljubljana. Even at the very outbreak of the war. He also has a beard. social democracy alerted workers to how imperialist forces were preparing for a new world war. 205-206) The national Thing functions thus as a kind of "particular Absoluteresisting universalization" resisting universalization. Years before the actual outbreak of the war. in the days following the Sarajevo assassination. the outbreak of WWI proves Zizek 93 (Slavoj Zizek Duke University Press Durham 1993 “Tarrying with the negative” Zizek is a senior reasearcher at the institute for social sciences. the basic paradox is that these chauvinist outbursts of "patriotic feeling" were far from unexpected. it is difficult to imagine what a traumatic shock it was for the leaders of all currents of social democracy. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 13 . the powerless fascination felt by its participants. bestowing its special "tonality" upon every neutral." This shock. i.

He also has a beard. we lose the fundamental paradox of how autonomy itself. be broken only by the favor of fate. instrumental cunning dexterity. is hard at work from the very beginning (the element of opera buffa). The situation is here ultimately the same as that of Abraham's acceptance of God's command to sacrifice his son: because he accepted it. the subject expresses his readiness to put all at stake in a gesture of defiant renunciation and thus disavows all the cheap tricks of instrumental reason. in its very self-affirmation. he prepares the ground in advance. the subject's subterfuge has already taken care of the final outcome. by way of his subterfuge." 7 In Mozart. And does not the same paradox define so-called "mature love": our partner will really appreciate our love only if we somehow let him know that we are not childishly dependent on him. the bourgeois subject. the Other will not respond. We as subjects should re-affirm our fate without the master. so that all that is left for the God-Master is to nod his assent after the fact. before the Other commits suicide to sustain his relation with us. and writes a lot. But the more it becomes clear that. As long as I endeavor to bargain.' in his major work to the devil. totalitarian calculation will result. why does he not also assume the formal act of decision. in a suicidal act of abandonment. master of his own fate. 167-168) The temptation to be avoided here is to conceive this Mozartian codependence of autonomy and mercy as a compromise formation.' Piously believing it and bitterly accepting it. with his utilitarian. Zizek 93’ (Slavoj Zizek Duke University Press Durham 1993 “Tarrying with the negative” Zizek is a senior reasearcher at the institute for social sciences. or just coincidence. relies on "mercy. As was pointed out by ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 14 . Or else. why does he still rely on the Other? The further feature which apparently contradicts the cunning dexterity is that the Other intervenes at the very moment when." on a sign of the Other. on an "answer of the real": "The empirical mind sees the response of mercy as an alien caprice. absurdly enough. as Goethe put it. Goethe entrusted self-realization in his life to the 'daemon. arranging the plot. Grace is a case of what Jon Elster called "states which are essentially a by-product": 8 it occurs at the very moment when we abandon all hope and cease to count on it. of course. Pg. as an illusory point of equilibrium between the not-yet subject who still relies on the Master's grace (the subject of enlightened absolutism in his relationship to the Monarch). 'if quite unexpected things from outside come to his aid. The motto "Help yourself and God will help you" receives here its full value: the subject is never a mere applicant. and the fully autonomous subject. counting on the lastminute intervention of grace. as long as I propose my selfsacrifice so to speak with my fingers crossed. University of Ljubljana. this dawn is unique because as millions become unemployed in the staus quo we as subjects are ready. the more the true enigma of form becomes palpable: why does the subject still need mercy. If we succumb to this temptation. Bondage to fate can. that we are able to survive without him? Therein consists the ordeal of true love: I pretend that I'll leave you. he did not have to carry it out. and only if and when you demonstrate your ability to endure my loss do you become worthy of my love.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Alternative Impact – Turns Case Turns case: the use of the master-state re-affirms the recipient of help to be entrenched in their same position of the other. Slovenia. but he could not know that in advance. at the level of content. But we must hasten. the individual can round his existence into a whole only. like the Hegelian monarch.

to refer to the Kantian terms. reducing every Otherness to an object to be "mediated." dominated by technological manipulation.. self-transparent Subject. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 15 . the dependence of the very assertion of the subject's autonomy on the sympathetic response of an Otherness.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Claude Lefort. far from postulating an "absolute subject. the ultimate result of which is the present ecological crisis. like that of teleology in Kant." "internalized. the future fate of society is made dependent on a play of numeric contingency). reference to the history of the opera allows us to denounce this myth by way of demonstrating how.e. it always relies on a minimum of miraculous coincidence. the underlying hypothesis that -." struggled desperately to articulate the paradoxical conjunction of autonomy and Grace.the result will be in the best interests of society can never be directly proven.. this apogee of "modern-age subjectivity.in the long term. Here.e. not constitutive. at least -. (It is precisely this gap which opens up the space for the totalitarian temptation directly to impose on society the solution which is "in its best interest.." philosophy from Kant to Hegel. i.") One of the most common "postmodern" myths concerns the phantom of the so-called "Cartesian paradigm of subjectivity": the era of modernity now reaching its end was allegedly marked by the all-devouring monster of the absolute. the status of this hypothesis is strictly regulative. 9 a similar confidence in the answer of the real is at work in democracy. which entails the symbolic dissolution of social links (in the act of elections. etc. i.

A. Our perception of "real" Jews is always mediated by a symbolic-ideological structure which tries to cope with social antagonism: the real "secret" of the Jew is our own antagonism. in today's ex-East Germany. it is precisely through such a displacement that desire is constituted.the reality of different ethnic communities living closely together -. The Lacanian thesis that enjoyment is ultimately always enjoyment of the Other. and enjoy -. one does not need a lot of "real" Jews to impute to them some mysterious enjoyment that threatens us (it is a wellknown fact that in Nazi Germany. for example. i. and why American TV depicts with such selfsatisfaction Japanese tourists staring at the wonders of the American pleasure-industry: finally. Duke University Press Durham 1993 “Tarrying with the negative” Zizek is a senior reasearcher at the institute for social sciences. enjoyment supposed.) is the fantasy organization of desire. and writes a lot. the ideological displacement. on the other hand. Pg. the anti-Semitic Skinheads outnumber Jews by ten to one).S. they are "becoming like us. in their zeal. History proves this lack of enjoyment within social groups and failure to understand this idea only produces ontological violence as we try to exert ourselves upon others Zizek 93 (Slavoj Zizek. in their inability to "take it easy. He also has a beard.and it is this attitude which is perceived as a threat to American supremacy. The problem is that... and that. imputed to the Other. it soon becomes clear that what American "spontaneous" ideology really reproaches the Japanese for is not simply their inability to take pleasure but rather the fact that their very -205-relationship between work and enjoyment is strangely distorted. while this is undoubtedly true. It is too easy to dispose of this problematic by pointing out that what we have here is simply the transposition.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K ALT: ENJOY OURSELVES Our Alternative is to enjoy ourselves: Rather than trying to understand why others do things and why they are there. Slovenia. the hatred of the Other's enjoyment is always the hatred of one's own enjoyment. that they accumulate too much wealth.e. University of Ljubljana.but the inner antagonism inherent in these communities. It is possible to have a multitude of ethnic communities living side by side without racial tensions (like the Amish and neighboring communities in Pennsylvania). is perfectly exemplified by this logic of the "theft of enjoyment." relax. conversely. is located in the somewhat mysterious fact that the Japanese don't consume enough. of the effective socioeconomic antagonisms of today's capitalism. Japanese. 205) What sets in motion this logic of the "theft of enjoyment" is of course not immediate social reality -.. anti-Semitism was most ferocious in those parts where there were almost no Jews. Witness the obsession of the American media with the idea that Japanese don't know how to enjoy themselves." ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 16 . If we look closely at the logic of this accusation. we should ask what are we doing in relation to the real." learning our way of enjoying. It is as if they find an enjoyment in their very renunciation of pleasure. a role resembling that of the Jew is played more and more by the Japanese. What we gain by transposing the perception of inherent social antagonisms into the fascination with the Other (Jew. In today's America. Thus the American media report with such evident relief how Japanese are finally learning to consume. The reason for the growing Japanese economic superiority over the U.

conversely. The hatred of the Other is the hatred of our own excess of enjoyment. about the Jew's or Japanese's special relationship toward money and work -.if not precisely so many ways.e. i. in this ambivalent attitude toward it? Do we not obtain satisfaction by means of the very supposition that the Other enjoys in a way inaccessible to us? Does not the Other's enjoyment exert such a powerful fascination because in it we represent to ourselves our own innermost relationship toward enjoyment? And.about the black's superior sexual potency and appetite.. We should rather inverse this proposition: the fascinating image of the Other gives a body to our own innermost split. essential feature? For this reason. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 17 . for us. of the excess produced by its inherent antagonistic nature? Is capitalism's hatred of the Jew not the hatred of its own innermost. it is not sufficient to point out how the racist's Other presents a threat to our identity. to what is "in us more than ourselves" and thus prevents us from achieving full identity with ourselves. to organize our own enjoyment? Do we not find enjoyment precisely in fantasizing about the Other's enjoyment. excessive enjoyment -.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K 9 What are fantasies about the Other's special. is the anti-Semitic capitalist's hatred of the Jew not the hatred of the excess that pertains to capitalism itself.

since it is the Cause itself which is produced by its effects (the ideological practices it animates). "their" noisy songs and dances.Pg.What categorically resists universalization is rather the particular structure of their relationship toward enjoyment: ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 18 . the "other" is either a workaholic stealing our jobs or an idler living on our labor. 201-202) In other words. the same paradox defines the experience of castration. The national Cause is ultimately nothing but the way subjects of a given ethnic community organize their enjoyment through national myths. What is therefore at stake in ethnic tensions is -202always the possession of the national Thing. an overdetermined result of textual practices. the whole meaning of the Thing turns on the fact that "it means something" to people. "their" strange manners.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Impact . the "excess" that pertains to this way: the smell of "their" food. which. is of course enjoyment (as Lacan states it explicitly in Encore 3 ). the only substance acknowledged by psychoanalysis. This precedent of exclusion makes our flawed American ontology consistent Zizek 93 (Slavoj Zizek. perverse enjoyment. "their" attitude to work. within the subject's psychic economy. He also has a beard. To the racist. nondiscursive kernel of enjoyment which must be present for the Nation qua discursive entity-effect to achieve its ontological consistency. appears as something that "really cannot happen. In short. The ground of incompatibility between different ethnic subject positions is thus not exclusively the different structure of their symbolic identifications. it is precisely at this point that the difference between Lacan and "discursive idealism" emerges most forcefully: Lacan does not reduce the (national. precisely the surplus. According to Freud. and it is quite amusing to notice the haste with which one passes from reproaching the other with a refusal to work to reproaching him for the theft of work. etc. We always impute to the "other" an excessive enjoyment: he wants to steal our enjoyment (by ruining our way of life) and/or he has access to some secret. and writes a lot.) Cause to a performative effect of the discursive practices that refer to it.Ontology The use to create a national order by elevating people in poverty to the ideal citizen distances ourselves from the other. To emphasize in a "deconstructionist" mode that Nation is not a biological or transhistorical fact but a contingent discursive construction. Duke University Press Durham 1993 “Tarrying with the negative” Zizek is a senior reasearcher at the institute for social sciences. is thus misleading: such an emphasis overlooks the remainder of some real.and the Lacanian term for the strange "substance" which must be added so that a Cause obtains its positive ontological consistency. Slovenia. The pure discursive effect does not have enough "substance" to compel the attraction proper to a Cause -. 4 Nationalism thus presents a privileged domain of the eruption of enjoyment into the social field. A nation exists only as long as its specific enjoyment continues to be materialized in a set of social practices and transmittedthrough national myths that structure these practices." but we are nonetheless horrified by its prospect. University of Ljubljana. This paradoxical existence of an entity which "is" only insofar as subjects believe (in the other's belief) in its existence is the mode of being proper to ideological causes: the "normal" order of causality is here inverted. significantly. The basic paradox is that our Thing is conceived as something inaccessible to the other and at the same time threatened by him. what really bothers us about the "other" is the peculiar way he organizes his enjoyment.

was part of a ‘progressive’ moralistic ideology which conceived of nature together with society as harbouring ruthless exploiters and criminals who should be banished from the land (Worster. But why does it have to be forced to conform? This is due. 63-65) What constantly emerges from this exposition is that when harmony is not present it has to be somehow introduced in order for our reality to be coherent. They will fail in their effort to fill the lack with a society of wealthy individuals Stavrakakis 99 (Yannis Stavrakakis. All this. a disturbing element destabilising our constructions of nature. It has to be introduced through a fantasmatic social construction. This construction was accepted by the Roosevelt administration in the USA (1901-9) and led to the formation of an official programme to exterminate vermin. What is this dialectic between the beatific fantasy of nature and the demonised vermin doing if not illustrating the Lacanian dialectic between ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 19 . Our constructions of ‘reality’ produce a leftover – that destabilizing element.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Impact -Utopianism = Extermination ( ). and well-financed such efforts in all of man’s history’ (Worster.700 wolves and 23. and a ruthless war started (in 1907 alone. Reality construction does not take place on a superstructural level. The driving force behind this enterprise was clearly a particular ethically distinctive construction of nature articulated within the framework of a conservation ideology. According to this construction what ‘was’ had to conform to what ‘should be’ and what ‘should be’. 1994:261). In so far as our constructions of reality influence our behaviour—and this is what they basically do—our fixation on harmony has direct social and political consequences. however.000 coyotes were killed in the National Parks and this policy continued and expanded for years) (Worster. the lack. This has to be stigmatized. the Bureau of the Biological Survey (BBS) in the Department of Agriculture. The more beatific and harmonious is a social fantasy the more this repressed destabilising element will be excluded from its symbolization— without. The job was given to a government agency. but also at the material level. to the gap between our harmonious fantasmatic constructions of nature and nature itself. One should not get the impression though that this is a mere philosophical discussion. that is to say nature without vermin (coyotes and other wild predators). reality is conceived as mastering the real. was accepted as more natural—more harmonious—than what ‘was’: ‘These conservationists were dedicated to reorganizing the natural economy in a way that would fulfil their own ideal vision of what nature should be like’ (Worster. made into a scapegoat and exterminated. As is well known nature conservation was developed first in the United States. Fellow. LACAN AND THE POLITICAL: THINKING THE POLITICS. well-organized. for instance. a vignette from the history of nature conservation can be revealing. 1994:266). 1994:263). In this regard. between reality and the real. But there is always a certain leftover. Reality is forced to conform to our constructions of it not only at the spiritual or the intellectual. University of Essex. 1994:265). prevents their utopian society from becoming a reality and is subsequently ‘scapegoated’ and exterminated. although not solely attributable to it. 1999. what is not so well known is that ‘a major feature of the crusade for resource conservation was a deliberate campaign to destroy wild animals—one of the most efficient. ever disappearing. Our constructions of reality are so strong that nature has to conform to them and not they to nature. 1.

then the play—the relation—between the symptom and fantasy reveals itself as another mode of the play between the real and the symbolic/imaginary nexus producing reality. by embodying the repressed jouissance. It cannot be accepted as the excluded truth of nature. we will concentrate here on the fantasy/symptom axis. 1992). if the symptom is an encounter with the real. 1991:16). As far as the promise of filling the lack in the Other is concerned. Hence. 1991:214). To return to our example. of stigmatising the symptom. a signifier is instituted in the real. If fantasy is ‘the support that gives consistency to what we call reality’ (Žižek. according to one possible reading. it is the repressed jouissance that returns and does not ever ‘stop in imposing itself [on us]’ (Soler. This is then the relation between symptom and fantasy. however. etc. The symptom here is a real kernel of enjoyment. It is the symptom that interrupts the consistency of the field of our constructions of reality. with a traumatic point that resists symbolisation. Here we are insisting on the late Lacanian conception of the symptom as sinthome. and if the discursive has to arrest the real and repress jouissance in order to produce reality. a signifier is married to jouissance. The self-consistency of a symbolic construction of reality depends on the harmony instituted by fantasy. This paradoxical role of the symptom can help us understand the paradoxical role of fantasy. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 20 .). outside the signifying chain but at the same time internal to it. 1991a:40). The social fantasy of a harmonious social or natural order can only be sustained if all the persisting disorders can be attributed to an alien intruder. then the negation of the real within fantasy can only be thought in terms of opposing. the illusory character of our harmonious construction of nature is shown in the fact that there is a part of the real which escapes its schema and assumes a symptomatic form (vermin. this real symptom has to be stigmatised and eliminated. in order for this fantasy to remain coherent. In this conception. disturbing intrusion. Fantasy gives discourse its consistency because it opposes the symptom (Ragland-Sullivan. by a negation of the generalised lack that crosses the field of the social. fantasy and symptom are two inter-implicated terms. But how is this done? If social fantasy produces the self-consistency of a certain construction it can do so only by presenting the symptom as ‘an alien. fantasy can be better understood in its relation to the Lacanian conception of the symptom. When. the dependence of fantasy on the symptom is revealed. and not as the point of eruption of the otherwise hidden truth of the existing social order’ (Žižek. This fantasmatic harmony can only be sustained by the neutralisation of the symptom and of the real. of the object of identification. 1989:49) on the other hand reality is always a symptom (Žižek. such a recognition would lead to a dislocation of the fantasy in question. the destabilising part of nature excluded from its harmonious symbolisation.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K the two sides of fantasy or between fantasy and symptom? Since we will explore the first of these two Lacanian approaches to fantasy in Chapter 4.

of course. Towards the end of the second century. 1348-9. It is not at all surprising then that to the Romans they looked like a bunch of conspirators plotting to destroy society. Failure to account for the lack dooms their politics to failure and replicates violence Stavrakakis 99 (Yannis Stavrakakis. Fellow. the Romans accused the Christians of cannibalism and the Jews were accused by Greeks of ritual murder and cannibalism. In fact the Christian Eucharist could easily be interpreted as cannibalistic (Cohn. In almost all their ways Christians ignored or even negated the fundamental convictions by which the pagan Graeco-Roman world lived. 1391 and 1400. the fantasy that led to the great witch-hunt. (Cohn. the Black Death that precipitated a whole wave of millenarian excitement. First. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 21 . we will start our reading of Cohn’s work by going back to Roman civilisation. and second. 102-103) It could be argued that the roots of both demonisation and utopian thinking can be traced back to the shift from a cyclical to a unilinear representation of history (Cohn. Yet in the ancient Roman world. and millenarian exaltation. do overlap. Cohn refers to the plagues that generated the first Crusade and the flagellant movements of 1260. according to Tertullian. 1993c:14-15) It was at times of acute dislocation and disorientation that this demonising tendency was more present. their understandable desire to improve their living conditions became transfused with fantasies of a future community reborn into innocence through a final. The same happened with the demonisation of Christians. LACAN AND THE POLITICAL: THINKING THE POLITICS. 1993a:227). a profound demonising tendency is discernible in Ancient Rome: within the imperium. on the one hand. 1993b:15). the conditions of possibility for this demonisation can be accurately defined. the cry goes up at once: ‘Throw the Christians to the Lions!’. Waldensians.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Impact – Violence ( ). When segments of the poor population were mesmerised by a prophet.: 87). every disaster that hits the populace. the poor in question—would set up their kingdom. University of Essex. a realm without suffering or sin. 1999. 6 However. Again. there had to be someone who could be singled out as the cause of this misfortune (Cohn. when they were faced with unfamiliar hazards dislocating their constructions of reality—when they encountered the real—the collective flight into the world of demonology could occur more easily (ibid. The vast majority of revolutionary millenarian outbreaks takes place against a background of disaster. especially in The Name of the Rose—were later on persecuted within a similar discursive context. the Fraticelli movement and the Cathars—all the groups appearing in Umberto Eco’s fascinating books. 1993b:8). As Cohn claims. apocalyptic massacre. on the other. If the Tiber floods or the Nile fails to. it was nevertheless a religio licita. a famine or a plague. When people were faced with a situation totally alien to their experience of normality. it was taken as a given that the Christians are the cause of every public catastrophe. Bogomiles. 1993b:226). after which the Saints—i. the clergy or the rich—were to be exterminated. social dislocation and unrest. the famines that preluded the first and second Crusade. The evil ones—variously identified with the Jews. a religion that was officially recognised. the pseudo-Baldwin movement and other millenarian outbreaks and. although Judaism was regarded as a bizarre religion. some kind of misfortune or catastrophe had to occur. In Cohn’s view then. The same applies to the emergence of millenarian fantasies. 1993b:14) This defamation of Christians that led to their exclusion from the boundaries of humanity and to their relentless persecution is a pattern that was repeated many times in later centuries. (Tertullian in Cohn.e. when both the persecutors and the persecuted were Christians (Cohn. Things were different with the newly formed Christian sect. if there is a drought or an earthquake.

And then. Individuals in a society be. and may. especially in Germany). (in) dehumaniza tion. of course" (Moses. 1914). Supervisor and Lecturer at the Israel Psychoanalytic Institute. mostly unconscious. 52).come accustomed to focusing their own aggressive wishes. the Arabs. 1990a. that narcissistic integrity be restored. Pg 248-249) The "familiar" image representation of a leader or leadership arouses the hope and trust that danger be eliminated. perforce defend ourselves" (Moses. an outsider. p. 1926. 56). the hostility currently directed toward strangers. 1996. the Leader and the Led – their mutual needs. "It is pertinent to take note of two phenomena.Dehumanization ( ) The Symbolic image of the Other leads to dehumanization and demonization in attempt to secure a more “pure” self.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Impact ." says Moses. The more the enemy is the demon. the Jews or Israelis. the more pure we become ourselves. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 22 . . p. This subhuman demon threatens us in such a mortally dangerous way that we must. are good. . are bad and we. 1933). that the perfection of the gratifying object be recovered (Freud. . the enemy is now seen as someone less than hu man." adds Moses. . "dehumanization and demonization. "Polarization then takes place: they. 1982. Solan 96 (Ronnie Solan. When partners feel that one of them refuses to or avoids investing in the chosen "media. . And vice versa. on the "bad people" outside." they will experience that partner as a stranger. When this "familiar" image is common to a group of people ("media") it might unite them around the "media" in mutual trust. a threatening "not-I." on which their aggression is then projected (see. and that the gratifying situations be realized (Freud. "Members of a nation (may) project their hostile and aggressive wishes and tendencies into or onto an enemy-neighbor. . PhD. for instance.. To demonize one's enemy is a further step.

and as such he views it as repudiation of a truth procedure. at the time. A conception which is not that of representation as meta-structure. This question of presentation and representation (and their distinction) is indeed a very difficult one. it represents no object and does not prevent a continuous un-relating of its own terms (which is how Badiou defines the mechanism of truth). A conception that finds its most concise formulation in Lacan’s statement: ‘a signifier represents a subject for another signifier’. Representations of the ‘other’ precludes political action Zupancic 04 (Alenka Zupancic. MP 72–3/91–2). The answer – which I will only try to sketch or roughly indicate here – rather lies in acknowledging something that Badiou strangely refuses to acknowledge or at least to adopt.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Impact – No Actual Action ( ). philosophy as an immediate part of procedure(s) of truth (or else as a sophistic game of endlessly surfing on the waves of the ‘wandering excess’). More: could one not say that what comes the closest to philosophy as simple presentation is precisely what Badiou calls modern anti-philosophy? Philosophy as presentation is nothing other than philosophy abandoning itself to its conditions. Slovene Academy of Sciences and Arts. For in this conception. THINK AGAIN ALAIN BADIOU AND THE FUTURE OF PHILOSOPHY. this would be falling back to the essentially premodern (or pre-Hegelian) position.e. representation as such is a wandering excess over itself. Ljubljana. 2004. and does not involve the idea of the signifier (or ‘name’) representing an object for the subject. in the Lacanian ‘use’ of linguistics). an idea that cannot be realized but in view of which one orientates one’s engagement in reality. i. Here. Something that happened in linguistics and gained a definite form in psychoanalysis (more precisely. representation also constitutes the crucial operation of the institution of a state. which is to say that ‘there is always both presentation and representation’ (EE 110). If nothing else. representation is itself infinite and constitutively not-all (or non-conclusive). a breakthrough that could in fact provide philosophy with its ‘fifth condition’. So are we then supposed instead to embrace representation as the metastructure which alone could guarantee a space or scene for philosophy proper? Of course not. it is essential for the very possibility of philosophy (its ‘fifth condition’). and constitutes a perhaps not yet entirely worked-out aspect of Badiou’s conceptual edifice. A conception which strikingly meets Badiou’s own demand of ‘destitution of the category of object’ while preserving the category of the subject (cf. Something that is as important for contemporary philosophy as is Cantor’s secularization of the infinite: an entirely new conception of representation. representation is the infinite tarrying ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 23 . 198199) For Badiou. In this conception. it is undoubtedly one of its central aspects. At the same time. Hence Badiou’s principled position against representation and the state – a position he adopts while remaining. well aware of the difficulty of simply putting an end to all representation (or all state). Badiou acknowledges that the state is co-original to any situation. representation is not a ‘presentation of presentation’ or the state of a situation but rather a ‘presentation within presentation’ or a state within a situation.e. i. for it seems that philosophy as composition and configuration of truths (produced elsewhere) cannot exactly be said to be a ‘simple presentation’. Something that can in no way be dismissed as yet another expression of the ‘linguistic turn’ and even less as a ‘poetic turn’. The end of representation and 198 THINK AGAIN the ‘universality of simple presentation’ (an egalitarian counting-for-one) remains a goal that bears some resemblance to the Kantian notion of a ‘regulative idea’. its own distinctive conceptual space. This was a major breakthrough of contemporary thought. Professor of Philosophy.

Duke University Press Durham 1993 “Tarrying with the negative” Zizek is a senior reasearcher at the institute for social sciences. and that they will thus lose their national identity. dirty and noisy enjoyment. the mathern of castration. on the other hand. We know. Slovenes are being deprived of their enjoyment by "Southerners" (Serbians. following the principle of perpetuum mobile.) because of their proverbial laziness. Meanwhile..." 6 The late Yugoslavia offers a case study of such a paradox. and rectifies an ontology of discontent.Pg.. To mark Slovenian ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 24 . Every nationality has built its own mythology narrating how other nations deprive it of the vital part of enjoyment the possession of which would allow it to live fully. 5 What we conceal by imputing to the Other the theft of enjoyment is the traumatic fact that we never possessed what was allegedly stolen from us: the lack ("castration") is originary. it "only comes to be through being left behind. The Slovenes are afraid that Serbs will "inundate" them. but from this act of representation itself. but is the very crack of representation. The Real is not something outside or beyond representation. allegedly rob the Serbs because of Slovenian unnatural diligence. This would be the most general formula of the modern racism we are witnessing today: a hatred of the particular way the Other enjoys. the Other as he who essentially steals my own enjoyment. and writes a lot. Zizek 93 (Slavoj Zizek. from its own inherent ‘crack’ or inconsistency. He also has a beard. in which we witness a detailed network of "decantations" and "thefts" of enjoyment. Instead of yielding to life's simple pleasures. The root of racism is thus hatred of my own enjoyment. The problem is apparently unsolvable as the Other is the Other in my interior. -203. then the hatred is also my own.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K with the excess that springs not simply from what is or is not represented (its ‘object’). University of Ljubljana. It is precisely this theft of enjoyment that we write down in shorthand as minus Phi. The Balkans and Vietnam prove. by reselling what they bought cheaply in Serbia. Impact – No Joy/Pleasure The inability to enjoy ourselves only leads to hatred. 202-204) Why does the Other remain Other? What is the cause for our hatred of him. we obtain Escher's well-known visual paradox of a network of basins where. stealing from Slovenes their precious accumulation of wealth by means of which Slovenia should otherwise have already caught up with Western Europe. occupying the place of extimacy. The Slovenes themselves. and selfish calculation. the Slovenes perversely enjoy constantly devising means of depriving Serbs of the results of their hard labor by commercial profiteering. The question of tolerance or intolerance is not at all concerned with the subject of science and its human rights.." which means simply that Slovenes refuse to recognize themselves as a subspecies of Serb. so that by moving the whole way downstream. stiffness. Slovenia. that the fundamental status of the object is to be always already snatched away by the Other. enjoyment constitutes itself as "stolen.to quote Hegel's precise formulation from his Science of Logic. Bosnians. of course.. There is no other enjoyment but my own. and because they demand bottomless economic support. water pours from one basin into another until the circle is closed. If we read all these mythologies together. Balkan corruption. we find ourselves back at our starting point. It is located on the level of tolerance or intolerance toward the enjoyment of the Other. If the Other is in me. for our hatred of him in his very being? It is hatred of the enjoyment in the Other." or. the Serbs reproach Slovenes for their "separatism.

far from being limited to the "backward" Balkan -204conditions. for example. in the figure of the dirty and easygoing "Southerner. far away in the Vietnam jungle. The basic premise of both Serb and Slovene is of course "We don't want anything foreign. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 25 . In both cases. Missing in Action). and it is this very enjoyment which returns in the real. recapturing this stolen. we just want what rightfully belongs to us!" -. Slovenes.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K difference from the "Southerners. forgotten by their own country. on the other hand. It is as if down there. leading a miserable existence. the essence of its potency. The underlying fantasy-scenario is far more interesting. forgotten part became an element of the Reaganesque reaffirmation of a strong America." 7 This logic is. and because this loss became the ultimate cause of America's decline and impotence in the post-Vietnam Carter years.a reliable sign of racism. How the "theft of enjoyment" (or. Serbs. excel in showing how Serbia was a victim of a "Vatican-Komintern conspiracy": their idée fixe is that a secret joint plan between Catholics and Communists aims to destroy Serbian statehood. This obsession articulated itself in a series of macho-adventures in which a hero undertakes a solitary rescue mission ( Rambo II. had been deprived of an essential part of its very life substance. imaginary castration) functions as an extremely useful tool for analyzing today's ideological processes can be further exemplified by a feature of American ideology of the eighties: the obsessive idea that there might still be some American POWS alive in Vietnam. these fantasies are clearly rooted in hatred of one's own enjoyment. repress their own enjoyment by means of obsessional activity. since it claims to draw a clear line of distinction where none exists. to use a Lacanian technical term. America had lost a precious part of itself. however." recent Slovenian popular historiography is bent on proving that Slovenes are not really of Slavic but of Etruscan origin.

it introduces the reality principle.Articulating a social being through language traps us in a socially constructed reality killing all pleasure Copjec 94 (Joan Copjec. But whereas in Bergson delay is called on to refute the claims of language. Professor of English & Director of the Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Culture. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 26 . It becomes merely the subjective synonym of the objective fact of the subject's construction. But this opacity prohibits not only their being used for the communication of intentions. [that] no intentions intervene to animate and fill up speech. it extends it. over the subject. or which maintains desire beyond the threats of extinction presented by satisfaction. in the absence of intention. An exclusive reliance on the pleasure principle as the only available form of the subject's relation to the social ends in the elimination of the need for pleasure. It is at this point that delay—that which prevents everything's being given at once—becomes a crucial concept in Lacan's argument. as we know. . to the place where we began. which psy¬choanalysis defines as that which delays the pleasure principle. he declares this belief in the fact that language "produces effects ." As Derrida has written. in which we are bound. with the observation that a certain definition of the social being of language seems only to founder on this impasse. Buffalo University. Or perhaps more simply. The death drive does not negate the pleasure principle. of language.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Impact – No Joy/Pleasure ( ). then. then pleasure becomes a redundant concept and the need to theorize it is largely extinguished. it also prohibits their reflection of an exterior reality. much as it was in Aristotle's and Bergson's. We have returned. . believed in the priority of social discourses. the classical condemnation of the machine is a denial of this fact. to trap us wholly in a socially constructed reality in which and with which we are bound to be happy. in Lacan (following Freud) it is understood as prolonging the pleasures of language. 1994. For if we begin by assuming that the subject is the effect of a particular social organization in the sense of being a realization or fulfillment of its demand. Pg 53-54) Lacan. Read my Desires. In referring to the signifying chain as automaton. to say that language exceeds the intentions of the subject is to say that signifiers are opaque to intentions. Now. to overturn it in favor of duration.

since there where the "markers of certainty" are erased. precluding the utopia you claim to solve for Copjec 94 (Joan Copjec. Professor of English & Director of the Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Culture. democracy seems designed. Read my Desires. It is to the fact that power is disjoined from knowledge. 15 In other words. But it must also be remembered that this information proliferated as verificationism collapsed. enjoyment breaks out. one that will not lie down flat." Additionally. once you admit enjoyment into the system. For. that is to say. unavoid ably. For. you have. if not to brew up more dissatisfaction. then there is necessarily a surplus of meaning in the subject. the attendant paradoxes that we referred to earlier through the example of universal suffrage contribute to a great deal of neurotic insatisfaction. 1994. Pg 160) Historians are undoubtedly correct to point out that a great gathering of information was begun in the nineteenth century. a conflictual space. Which resulted in what? A mass of information that could not be verified. that the force which produces the subject is blind. as Freud says in Totem and Taboo. Yet it is just this conflict that preserves democracy. It seems that the preeminent form of modern power is the source of "modern nervousness. as on a grid. they separate them. It is only this dissatisfaction and this struggle over the definition of the subject and of its relations to other subjects that prevent us from surrendering these definitions to the Other. Buffalo University. an excess for which the Other cannot account. It was the combination of these two conditions—and not simply the fact that the individual subject became the object of several new "human sciences"— that produced the modern democratic subject. The moment the individual subject became visible as a social value. if there is a lack of knowledge in the Other. Identifying the individual subject within a democratic system opens it to intense scrutiny. It is only because I doubt that I am therefore a democratic citizen ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 27 . "sexual needs are not capable of uniting men". it also became the object of an intense scrutiny. there is something in the subject that escapes social recognition. How to conclude? The space inhabited by indeterminate subjects will never be harmonious. at least to acknowledge the impossibility of its alleviation. that the subject owes its precious singularity . First of all. a democracy is not a utopia.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Impact – Identifying the Other Kills Solvency ( ).

the subject becomes guilty of the very deceit in that. I hold to the belief that even in the absence of my conscious attention. or adapt to. the entire corporeal presence. some power beyond us: Aristotle's Prime Mover. the suspicion that some reality is being camouflaged. 1994. I reassure myself that I maintain control over myself through one form of determinism or another. Bergson's Spirit. Professor of English & Director of the Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Culture. idealist vocabulary) is not a subject who will harmonize with. Pg 37) Much of this definition of narcissism I take to be compacted in Lacan's otherwise totally enigmatic sentences: "The effect of mimicry is camouflage in the strictly technical sense. But ironically this sum depends for its existence on our supposing the intervention of some supernatural power. of its coming under the power of another." in an older. At war both with its world and with itself." 31 The effect of representation ("mimicry. or of my simply forgetting it—as if it were some common umbrella—in the metro. my arm will move automatically. its environment (the subject's narcissistic relation to the representation that constructs him does not place him in happy accord with the reality that the apparatus constructs for him). It is necessary to ensure myself against the fact not of my arm's amputation immediately but of my losing control of it. the whole sum of the body functions. it is not free. but against a mottled background.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Impact – Loss of Freedom ( ). against such a background of deception. Buffalo University. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 28 . is assumed in order to maintain man's freedom of thought and will. instead. of becoming mottled—exactly like the technique of camouflage practiced in human warfare. In response to such a representation . Read my Desires. Representation hinged on a “power beyond us” breaks up the subjects being – arresting freedom Copjec 94 (Joan Copjec. Paradoxically. In other words. It is not a question of harmonizing with the background. the subject's own being breaks up between its unconscious being and its conscious semblance. The effect of representation is. that we are being deceived as to the exact nature of some thing-in-itself that lies behind representation. if it is an instrument. according to a whole system of involuntary reflexes or to an ultimate guiding presence.

"Witness the hysteric.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Impact – Hysteria ( ). its questioning and refusal of social dictates. Pg 50) In opposition to this. the pregnancies. Lacan would not deny this—in fact. And by now. Read my Desires. Misconstruing Lacan as a linguistic or cultural determinism invites a hysteria that leads to facial paralysis and inert limbs Copjec 94 (Joan Copjec."2° Now. . ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 29 . The body is written. The inert limbs and the facial paralyses of the hysterics are testimonies of a cut too often ignored by those who would turn Lacan's theory into a linguistic or cultural determinism. prove misleading. Lacan argues that we think not as a consequence of our engagement with the totality of our bodily presence but rather as a consequence of the fact that "a structure carves up [man's] body. one recognizes "hysterogenic zones" as symptoms inscribed by language. all the work on the "technologies of the body" have repeated this often enough. it is largely his theory that enables this position to be taken. . it is constructed by language and not pregiven. Lacan is asking us to witness the paralyses and anesthesias of the hysteric. Witness the hysteric. visible symptoms of hysteria—the hystericization by which the body and its movements become an erotic spectacle: the passionate attitudes. those spaces of inattention that mark the point where something is missing in the hysteric's image of herself. with the help of the theory of psychoanalysis. Professor of English & Director of the Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Culture. the arcs of circle. The cut to which Lacan refers instead carves up (divides) the body image and thus drives the subject to seek its being beyond that which its image presents to it. Those who speak of the "invention of hysteria" as the pure imposition on the subject of an identity formed by the social neglect to consider that hysteria is conceived by psychoanalysis as a challenge to the subject's social identity: hysteria is the first analyzed instance of the subject's essential division." he is speaking of a more unkind cut than that which merely carves out (or defines) a body image through which the subject will assume its being. I fear. For one thinks first of all of the vivid. Buffalo University. those blind spots in consciousness. The fact that she is constructed by society's language means to the hysteric that part of her body will not be visible. this plain hortatory may. . Yet I would suggest that when Lacan tells us that language carves up the body. or present to her. it causes the subject always to find in its image something lacking. 1994.

MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Link – the Other ( ). It must. The subject. Narcissism. too. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 30 . Read my Desires. the law . narcissism cannot consist in finding satisfaction in one's own visual image. Buffalo University. Professor of English & Director of the Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Culture. but the fault in the law— the desire that the law cannot ultimately conceal—that is assumed by the subject as its own. Pg 37) Narcissism. the aggressivity it unleashes on all its own representations . in taking up the burden of the law's guilt.29 Thus is narcissism the source of the malevolence with which the subject regards its image. takes on a different meaning in Lacan. consist in the belief that one's own being exceeds the imperfections of its image. aggressive malevolence is the result Copjec 94 (Joan Copjec. seeks the self beyond the self-image . It is not the law. rather. 1994. Since something always appears to be missing from any representation. one more in accord with Freud's own. then. rather than. 30 And thus does the subject come into being as a transgression of. goes beyond the law. Claims of the “other” are indicative of a narcissism that arises from the inability to find satisfaction in one owns image. What one loves in one's image is something more than the image ("in you more than you"). in conformity to. with which the subject constantly finds fault and in which it constantly fails to recognize itself.

making visible a certain lack. something is again missing. by constitution.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Link . it also entails a constitutive alienation. should the problem of identification not be. the essential problem of politics?' is that the problem of politics is identification and its failure (Laclau and Zac. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 31 .Identity Politics Identity politics are a social fantasy based on the full realization of personal identity within the political sphere. If the ego is based on the imaginary misrecognition of the impossibility of fullness and closure. 1994: 14). can only be understood as a politics of impossibility. alienating (Laclau and Zac. In the symbolic. It can never realise its aim. after all. this drives a politics of impossibility that attempts to fill the void. This lack also constitutes an irreducible element of the symbolic order in which the subject turns for its representation. the politics of identity formation. in general.A. One has to agree with Laclau and Zac that the proper answer to LacoueLabarthe's rhetorical question 'Why. identification politics is revealed as the politics of impossibility. assuming at the same time the risk of a certain repetition: the politics of the subject. Stavrakakis 99 (Yannis Stavrakakis. Beyond identity politics. 1994: 35). “Lacan and the Political” Yannis Stavrakakis is teaching fellow at the department to Government at the University of Essex and director of the M. program in Ideology and Discourse Analysis. here lack is elevated to the position of a precondition for symbolic representation. Identification is always an identification doomed to fail.) In this regard we have to be very clear. it can never achieve full identity. it can never bring back our lost fullness since it was its own institution that introduced this loss. the subject is properly constituted but as the subject of lack. Identification is thus revealed as.

At the moment the university students stepped forward on the political stage as presumptive actors. What anxiety exposes as ungraspable or unclaimable jouissance is that which the guilty shamelessly grasp for in the obsequious respect they pay to a past sacralized as their future. The guilt-laden. The root of this “powerlessness” lies in the idea that we possess ‘power’ in the first place. but is not for all that inaccessible in so far as we can have knowledge about it. Freud described the power of the superego as that of prohibition. He had written in 1967. not from jouissance as such. at finding that the universalizing tendency of the University Discourse does not end up forsaking these inherited identities or differences. however. it had inducted them into the inglorious role of serfs of the superego. Lacan: the silent partners. possessable as an identity. On the contrary. national. May ’68. rather. Guilt laden identity politics give a false sense of knowing ones core . Let me reiterate this point: certainty is transformed not only into knowledge but also into the relentless pursuit of ever more knowledge. the Emotional Month. but this jouissance is characterized by Lacan in Seminar XVII as a 'sham'. from being riveted to the pursuit of ideals and goals we cannot obtain because they withdraw from us. The mounting threat of segregation was a major concern for Lacan during this period. anxiety-relieved subject still experiences jouissance. ethnic — root us in an actual past that may be lost. and that the students ought to mind the gathering storm clouds of segregation already visible in the alethosphere. The unmistakable and baffling certainty that forms the ground of anxiety vanishes in guilt in favour of a pursuit of knowledge. Directory of the Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Culture. For the 'acute feeling of being held fast' no longer comes — as Levinas indicates in his confusion — from being stuck or doubled by a jouissance we cannot assume because it remains opaque to us but. With reference to their feeling of fraternity with the workers. which jouissance poses. dissolution or blockage of the disturbing enigma. a surplus-value attaching to one's person. To continue translating into the terms of the present discussion: guilt takes flight from the enigma of our jouissance-being. Lacan responded by agreeing with them that the university had ill-prepared them for the role.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Link – Identity Politics (1/2) ( ). The feverish pursuit of this future — conceived both as their due and as repayment of their (unpayable) debt to the past — is the poor substitute. the guilty acceptance in the place of the real sweetness of jouissance. 2006) The Lacanian reidentification of the agent of power also permits us to see more clearly what happens in the transformation of anxiety into guilt. Copjec 06 (Joan Copjec. those of the idealized father. as 'counterfeit' . the enigma of being. compelled to add mortar to the thickening barricade against anxiety. for example: `Our future as common markets will find its equilibrium in ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 32 . the Sweet'n' Low. but welcoming them with open arms.supplying a false jouissance leading to an unending pursuit for equality and segregation. University of Buffalo. against the enigma it poses. a property. specifically the prohibition of jouissance. better. he warned that we are always alone together. The 'inexpressible flavour of the absolute' which Levinas discerned as a feature of temporal existence under capitalism finds its explanation here. unchosen identities — racial. But Lacan sees this power less as a prohibition of jouissance as such than as prohibition or. Let us permit ourselves a little surprise.32 The fraudulent nature of this jouissance has everything to do with the fact that it gives one a false sense that the core of one's being is something knowable. Sham jouissance intoxicates one with the sense that all our inherited. and about how to restore it in an ideal future.

the extension of humanitarian aid to the very ethnic enemies with whom we are simultaneously at war. and with the universities which became home to 'identity politics'. One of the most remarkable instantiations of this association in recent years has been.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Link – Identity Politics (2/2) a harsher extension of the processes of segregation. but that it was being positively fomented by the universalism of the university and the occult power of the superego. as Jacques Ranciere was the first to point out. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 33 . stems from conceiving ourselves as possessors of power. Our feeling of powerlessness. We shore up our increasingly fractious identities. homogenizes the relations among men. in other words. our powerlessness before — what? Our own internal power. I believe that what characterizes our time .'" He reiterated his concern about the rise of racism in his television interview a few years later. Since 1970 segregationism has indeed returned in the form Lacan predicted. . is a ramified and reinforced segregation that produces intersections at all levels and that only multiplies barriers. . . curiously partnered rather than at odds with universalism. On the contrary.' And in 1968: 'We think that universalism . while locating our underlying 'humanity' in our basic impotence in need of aid.' Here the logic of the psychic transformation we have tried to describe plays itself out on the big screen of world events. exercise our rights in the name of identities we believe we possess. . Lacan's point was not that segregation would re-emerge in the form of a return of the repressed.

~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 34 . seems to be the main preoccupation of the tolerant liberal attitude that predominates today. fanatical crowds? Doesn't it desperately try to distract our attention from the true locus of trouble.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Link . He also has a beard. . asked Picasso: "Did you do this?" Picasso calmly replied: "No. objective. The surprised wife exclaims: "Why have you come back early?" The husband furiously snaps back: "What are you doing in bed with another man?" The wife calmly replies: "I asked you a question first-don't try to squeeze out of it by changing the topic!'H The same goes for violence: the task is precisely to change the topic. you did this!" Today. incitement. physical violence (mass murder. fanatical crowds: subjective violence is just the most visible of the three. to move from the desperate humanitarian SOS call to stop violence to the analysis of that other SOS. sexual discrimination). by obliterating from view other forms of violence and thus actively participating in them? According to a well-known anecdote. terror) to ideological violence (racism. asks the few remaining leftists who still count on a radical social transformation: "Isn't it you who did this? Is this what you want?" And we should reply. The lesson is thus that one should resist the fascination of subjective violence. it is our responsibility to resist the subjective fascination. a German officer visited Picasso in his Paris studio during the Second World War. Is there not something suspicious. Zizek 08 (Slavoj Zizek is a senior researcher at the University of Slovenia Ljubljana. evil individuals. disciplined repressive apparatuses. indeed symptomatic. and symbolic. many a liberal. from direct. drowning out all other approaches: everything else can and has to wait.) Opposing all forms of violence. . disciplined repressive apparatuses. The 1ACs SOS call to subjective violence only distracts us from the system drowning all other approaches. like Picasso: "No. shocked at the modernist "chaos" of the painting. the complex interaction of the three modes of violence: subjective. about this focus on subjective violence-that violence which is enacted by social agents. There he saw Guernica and.Violence ( ). of violence enacted by social agents. evil individuals. when faced with violent outbursts such as the recent looting in the suburbs of Paris. you did this! This is the true result of your politics!" There is an old joke about a husband who returns home earlier than usual from work and finds his wife in bed with another man. An SOS call sustains such talk. Violence.

and prevents real change. 7) When those who uphold the contemporary ideology of ‘ethics’ tell us that the return to Man and his rights has delivered us from the ‘fatal abstractions’ inspired by ‘the ideologies’ of the past. For what every emancipatory project does. the hazardous. I would be delighted to see today so constant an attention paid to concrete situations. so sustained and so patient a concern for the real. they wield the inert power of reality and time against that which is only. University of Paris. Professor of Philosophy.Ethics ( ). kills dissent. their capital.) is always already there. and so on. To elucidate these facts. precarious advent of a possibility of the Intemporal. And in the same way. As Mao Tse-tung used to say. Legislating ethics reifies social hierarchy. there is no lack of proof for the fact that the thematics of the ‘death of man’ are compatible with rebellion. Badiou 01 (Alain Badiou. one will have to split into two. etc. as we have said. be inscribed in a situation without encountering resolute opposition? Precisely because a truth. Professor of Philosophy.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Link . while by contrast. with advertising. How. University of Paris. so it can actually be achieved only against dominant opinions. a radical dissatisfaction with the established order.’ Yet ethics explicitly presents itself as the spiritual supplement of the consensus. Ethics is thus part of what prohibits any idea. and with service rendered to the powers that be. its passé). their control of the media. But in particular. and ultimately for ourselves.often the furthest removed.as that we witnessed in the years between 1965 and 1980. settling instead for overlaying un-thought and anonymous situations with mere humanitarian prattle (which. since these always work for the benefit of some rather than all. An ethics of rights subverts new ways of thinking and acting politically. stemming from the general feeling provoked by the sight of atrocities. ETHICS AN ESSAY ON THE UNDERSTANDING OF EVIL. The Law ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 35 . ETHICS AN ESSAY ON THE UNDERSTANDING OF EVIL.that it is never a matter . could the incalculable novelty of a truth. does not itself contain any positive idea of humanity). is a powerful contributor to subjective resignation and acceptance of the status quo. indeed. Such are the facts. it might seem. Badiou 01 (Alain Badiou. the ‘concern for the other’ signifies that it is not a matter . 2001. in its invention. which replaces the ‘old ideological divisions’. These privileged few certainly benefit from their position. and the hole that it bores in established knowledges. is the only thing that is for all. they have some nerve. what every emergence of hitherto unknown possibilities does is to put an end to consensus. and a fully committed engagement in the real of situations. any coherent project of thought. like every truth. we must examine the foundations of today’s ‘ethical’ orientation. 32) The very idea of a consensual ‘ethics’. But there is no possibilities for our situation. from the normal environment of intellectuals . The ‘splitting into two’ horrifies it (it smacks of ideology. 2001. so much time devoted to an activist inquiry into the situation of the most varied kinds of people . with his customary simplicity: ‘If you have an idea. ( ).of prescribing hitherto unexplored (human rights. the theme of ethics and of human rights is compatible with the self-satisfied egoism of the affluent West. It regulates judgments and opinions concerning the evil that happens in some variable elsewhere. In reality.

” believed to stem from revealed truth. originating from that bit of the Real that always refuses the Symbolic. . traumas. leading to the obliteration of the ethical subject altogether. Scheper-Hughes 1993. or fascist allegiances. as Butler (1992:190) points out. . the Real which is experienced in the encounter with the abyss of the Other’s desire .” (Žižek 1997:213). which relies on a pre-established set of symbolic rules. is that the dogma of power is grounded only in itself . . fascist regimes to come to power. Comaroff 1985. While utilitarian ethics and its notion of “Good” are deeply rooted in the Symbolic order. while the true secret. In the Kantian utilitarian formulation. the form of ethical action gives the content of ethics: the will coincides with a moral law or a categorical imperative to act in such a way that one’s action will give a universal rule.” Although this remainder is refused or repudiate in the subjection process. pg 42-44) We can therefore theorize an “ethics of the Real” that goes beyond utilitarian ethics and cannot be grounded in ontology (Zupančič 2000:235). . 2008. totalitarian. . subjection in such circumstances (Kleinman 1994. . The literature on suicide. Link . an element that Dolar (1993:77) calls “pre-ideological and presubjective materia prima. claim certain “death” beyond the Symbolic order . and affects that fuel Real acts of resistance. But fidelity to a “Supreme Good” may become the basis for the worst kinds of nationalist. Žižek (1997:213) writes: Argumentation is for the crowd of “ordinary people” who need the illusion that there are good and proper reasons for the orders they must obey. . it continues to determine and define that subject. Ong 1987. by means of which. Lacanian ethics is different from all other theories of ethics since it “is grounded in reference to the Real. The ethics of the Real is therefore “an injunction which cannot be grounded in ontology—in so far as there is a crack in the ontological edifice of the universe” (Žižek 1997:213).” It is this negative void that fuels resistance and motivates subjects to risk life or. Religious ethics is essentially a branch of philosophy that deals with right and wrong in human behavior. Harvard University. fidelity and allegiance to a “Good. The “Real” in Resistance: Transgression of Law as Ethical Act. Taussig 1992). of going right back to the conservative identity that sustains it. A synthesis of anthropological and psychoanalytic literature would allow a reworking of resistance theory to suggest—beyond structuralism and poststructuralism—the existence of a Real resistance which recognizes that from the inception of the subjection processes there is a part in an individual that cannot be successfully passed into as subject. Ayatollah Montazeri’s traumatic experiences of injustice and cruelty during the Shah’s regime fueled his resistance against a post-revolutionary order he had helped to set up.Util Ethics/Performance ( ). known only to the elite. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 36 . from divine sources. This approach allows for the theorization of deeply subjective experiences of bodily anxieties. Resistance of the Real is an already completed act. one should invert the standard pseudo-Freudian approach to Kant which endeavors to discern the secret “pathological” motivations beneath what appears to be an ethical act accomplished purely out of duty. the nervos. Utilitarian Ethics are embedded in the symbolic order allowing totalitarian. persisting as a kind of “defining negativity. Doctor of Anthropology. and ecstatic states suggest that bodies have the ability to become unbound from their states of “normal” socialization. . A Real act of resistance opens up the possibility for articulating an ethics of the Real that is irreducible to a speech or performative act. (your speech act/performance is symbolic as well – precluding Real change) Behi 08 (Kambiz Behi. Similarly. the Lacanian conception of ethics is articulated through subjects’ relation to traumatic and Real acts of resistance that cannot be articulated in the Symbolic order.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K question of reconsidering the foundation of this ‘Law’. describing what is ethical.

by the hegemonic form” of symbolic norms and their codified transgressions (1999:264). the Real in resistance is much more than “making do” or “making out” in difficult situations. Žižek points out that resistance of the Real is much more than just a performative act that reconfigures “one’s symbolic condition via its repetitive displacements”: one should maintain the crucial distinction between a mere ‘performative reconfiguration’. and the much more radical act of a thorough reconfiguration of the entire field which redefines the very conditions of socially sustained performativity (1999:264). Doctor of Anthropology. they support the system they try to support. rituals. Prefer the Real in resistance Behi 08 (Kambiz Behi. it is possible to conceptualize resistance to law as an already completed act which originates from the remainder of subjection process—a bit of the Real that is refused in the Symbolic. Žižek reiterates that performative reconfigurations “ultimately support what they intend to subvert. even engendered. since the very field of such ‘transgressions’ is already taken into account.Performance/Discourse ( ). Through the Lacanian concept of Real. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 37 . 2008. Performative and linguistic acts are ineffective. pg 32) In this conception. The matrix of the Symbolic order is deeply invested in a set of ideological institutions. Harvard University. as it were. especially in circumstances where individuals are struggling for their lives. and practices.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Link . conducts an internal guerrilla war of turning the terms of the hegemonic field against itself. a subversive displacement which remains within the hegemonic field and. which cannot be effectively undermined by linguistic transgressions or performative gestures because they are of the same Symbolic type. The “Real” in Resistance: Transgression of Law as Ethical Act.

pg 31) Foucault’s pluralistic notion of power discourse as a heterogeneous field of multiple resistances only allows for the subversion and rearticulation of power relations within the symbolic field. which aims to explain various levels of psychic phenomena in subjectification. displacing and restructuring the previous order in principle. Behi 08 (Kambiz Behi.” as types of power-play that sanction manipulation of meanings. but its effects are “always redoubled into the traumatic event ‘in itself.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Link/Turn/AT Biopower ( ). or formation of the subject. the Real exerts its influence upon subjectification since it continues to determine and define that subject. 215-16). persisting as a kind of “defining negativity” (Butler 1992:190). the Foucauldian notion of resistance is always immanent to power and therefore any new Symbolic order created after a successful resistance (revolution) is inherently of the same structural bases of juridico-political order as the previous one. which. it nevertheless fails to elucidate the manner in which “pain” or “suicide” as forms of resistance (Kleinman 1992. Although it may explain values that are associated with “everyday resistance.’ and into the trauma of its symbolic inception” (Žižek 1997:95. Doctor of Anthropology. opposed to its Imaginary or Symbolicreification/subjection. the order of language and law. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 38 . the order of iconic identification visàvis the Other. along with empirical anthropological works. 1995) could be “romantic” (Abu-Lughod 1990) or “cunning” practices (Reed-Danahay 1993). Foucault’s notion of resistance is a “false transgression that reasserts the symbolic status quo and even serves as a positive condition of its functioning” (262). they are contructed in the symbolic and only lead to the rearticulation of the power relations they seek to destroy. Lacan considers the physicality of the body to be the locus of the Real. In other words. cannot be directly known. points to a third conception of resistance—beyond structuralist or poststructuralist conceptions—by introducing the possibility for a radical rearticulation of the entire Symbolic order by means of an act proper: through passing into “symbolic death” (Žižek 1999:262). the Real is that which is the traumatic kernel at the core of subjectivity. Harvard University. Psychoanalytic theory. Although it cannot be Imagined or Symbolized. Lacanian psychoanalytic theory offers an alternative approach for rethinking resistance as a radical rearticulation of a predominant Symbolic order when a new point de capiton—a quilting point or Master-Signifier—emerges. 2008. and the Symbolic. From the perspective of Lacanian theory. Unlike the Imaginary. Notions of resistance against biopower are false transgression. an order within the Real-Imaginary-Symbolic triad of Lacan’s psychoanalytic realms. Lacanian resistance is unleashed from the Real. The “Real” in Resistance: Transgression of Law as Ethical Act.

to enjoy ‘fundamental’ liberties (of opinion. deprived of any collective political landmark. In the domain of ‘philosophy’. have been won over to the logic of a capitalist economy and a parliamentary democracy. adopted as their own the principles of the established “Western” order. ETHICS AN ESSAY ON THE UNDERSTANDING OF EVIL. University of Paris. the rights of living beings. These rights are held to be selfevident. ‘Ethics’ is a matter of busying ourselves with these rights. of expression. 4) According to the way it is generally used today. and of all the forms of progressive engagement that it inspired. stripped of any notion of the ‘meaning of History’ and no longer able to hope for or expect a social revolution.). they have rediscovered the virtues of that ideology constantly defended by their former opponents: humanitarian individualism and the liberal defense of rights against the constraints imposed by organized political engagement. Professor of Philosophy. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 39 . they have. In the political domain. by derivation. of democratic choice in the election of governments. This return to the old doctrine of the natural rights of man is obviously linked to the collapse of revolutionary Marxism. We are supposed to assume the existence of a universally recognizable human subject possessing ‘rights’ that are in some sense natural: the right to live. of making sure that they are respected. many intellectuals. along with much of public opinion. in sum. 2001. Rather than seek out the terms of a new politics of collective liberation. The doctrine of natural rights collapses progressive engagement in the political ensuring perpetuation of the status quo Badiou 01 (Alain Badiou. the term ‘ethics’ relates above all to the domain of human rights.or. ‘the rights of man’ . to avoid abusive treatment.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Link – Natural Rights ( ). etc. and the result of a wide consensus.

A surplus of perception. an indeterminate `more'. or representations. separating the individual perception from itself — and it is this difference which is called affect. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 40 . a surplus of the signifier over itself. May ’68. The idea of “the Other” is constitutive of a separation within the individual perception. for example. it is a surplus used to protect the self from ‘assaults from behind’ in attempt to make a more secure world. he will argue that an actual. more murderous than murmuring. the Emotional Month. when the Other comes to be called affect. just as in the 1967 Tournier essay he claims that it participates in the field of the Other. rather. Directory of the Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Culture. as Deleuze puts it in his earlier essay. The later Deleuze is more `Sartrean' in the sense that he conceives affect as more disruptive. but emerge smoothly from their penumbra. it is an Other who 'assures the margins and transitions of the world' and 'fills the world with a benevolent murmuring'. and he will define affect (specifically in the books on cinema) as the participation of the actual in the virtual and the virtual in the actual. creates a kind of buffer zone which ensures that perceptions do not simply follow antecedent perceptions. But something changes in the later work. they are fringed by something like peripheral vision. but a surplus produced by its very function. are conceived less as limited than as wrapped in a mantle of indetermination. Is not affect. representation's own essential 'out-of-phaseness' with itself? A marginal difference opens up. that the back of a house meets up with its front in some consistent way — or to protect the subject from 'assaults from behind'. Lacan: the silent partners. affect is not quite as 'benevolent' as the Other was in so far as the claim is no longer that affect serves to confirm the existence of a stable world — to guarantee. In his later work. in which Sartre is used against Merleau-Ponty. as seen from the side of the actual thing. In other words. In that essay. The source of this mantle or surplus is what Deleuze calls here `the Other'. in this account. While I began by wondering if Freud's insistence that affect is always displaced implied an out-of-phase relation between affect and representation.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Link – Other/Security ( ). to put it succinctly. In this later work. 2006) In this description perceptions. it is less a mantle surrounding perception than perception's inner division. a division that antagonizes them. Copjec 06 (Joan Copjec. its dislocation from itself. Deleuze's account becomes less Merleau Pontyesque. individual perception participates simultaneously in a pre-individual or impersonal field. University of Buffalo. Merleau-Ponty's account of the relation between the gaze and the visible is invoked as critique of the analysis given by Sartre in Being and Nothingness. Deleuze rebaptizes this benevolent Other with another term. the present line of argument suggests that this formulation suffers from an overly sharp separation of the two terms. it is as if Deleuze had wanted to overturn Lacan's argument in Seminar XI. Not something added to representation or the signifier. 'affect'.

not only the instrument that „commodifies‟ social relations and regulates biopolitics. money is the ultimate object of desire. 2008. an everyday practice that reifies the imperatives of the dominant ideology in everyday transactions. 1) The importance of money in the contemporary configuration of the global capitalism is not only manifested in the dominance of financial speculation over „real‟ production. Money is not only the vehicle that realizes the global economy of unequal exchange. Money having no qualities itself can reduce the qualities of everything else into quantities. the articulation of desire itself in the symbolic order of capitalism. money as the empty signifier of the market economy. Money is the particular content that hegemonizes the universal ideological construction of capitalism giving a particular and accessible meaning to economic value which colours its very universality and accounts for its efficiency. Eramus University Rotterdam.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Link – You Use Money ( ). You use of money is predictive of your entrenchment in the symbolic order of capitalism Papadopoulos 08 (Georgios Papadopoulos. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 41 . which symbolizes and signifies all other commodities. Finally. it is the signifier par excellance in contemporary capitalism. Consistency and Desire. In addition the use of money is a ceremony of initiation in the ideological form. PhD in philosophy.

Equilibrium can be defined as the ideal state. including politics. 2008. On the level of the individual these institutions are able to accommodate maximization of utility and enable the realization of the interests of the actors. It is supportive of the market as the dominant form of social organization and is connected with the liberal-utilitarian tradition. The mainstream scientific analysis of social dynamics points to the importance of a free market and the interrelated incentive structure as the deciding factors for the positive resolution of economic and social problems. In this train of thought the market can and should provide the appropriate mechanisms for conflict resolution as well as for cultural and institutional change.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Link – Economic Terms ( ). This tendency is not just a symptom of the dominance of economics over the other social sciences. The existence of a system of enforceable property rights negotiated and transferred can in principle lead to a point where no further voluntary bilateral exchanges are feasible and subsequently no increase in the well-being of the actors. In this context individuals are envisioned to have specific aims and endowments and to be free to engage in relations of voluntary bilateral exchange through which they maximize their utility. 1) Economic discourse is increasingly dominating on an ever expanding area of subjects. where all the interests are included. Discourse that discusses life using economic terms is predictive of utilitarian ethics Papadopoulos 08 (Georgios Papadopoulos. the efficiency. These conditions are to be used as the benchmark that actual social structures should aspire to. counteracted and accommodated. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 42 . the stability as well as the superiority in terms of welfare of such an equilibrium state7. This type of analysis has a strong normative edge. Economics suggest that under specific (restrictive) conditions the existence. This dominance should be primarily explained by the reoconstitution of ideology concerning social existence on the basis of (a deflated version) economic science. When such state is reached the social system is deemed to be in equilibrium5. In this idealization the disturbing forces are counteracted by a species of social entropy that results from individual maximizing behaviour that is able to reinstate equilibrium. Eramus University Rotterdam. PhD in philosophy. Metaphors from economics are used in communicating arguments about politics and ethics. and all agents have maximized their utility given the constrains of their initial endowments and the preferences of the other agents6. economic explanations are offered for a wide range of non-economic phenomena from biology to religion and economic methods and evaluations are used as the ultimate criteria in decision making. money as the empty signifier of the market economy. Consistency and Desire.

is risky. then they withdraw into privacy.Race & Disablity ( ). The strategy of returning to the first link. University of Ljubljana.) aggressive with more 'correct' expressions. drinking and dancing." ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 43 .. as it were.) effect it tries to banish. That is to say: as long as the expression 'crippled' contains a surplus. adding insult to injury. rather. it will even be enhanced by dint of this substitution. the only way to banish the hatrid-effect is to use language in a non-aggressive way Zizek 97(Slavoj Zizek. and indulge passionately in orgies of sex. Does not the same go for the gradual replacement of (sexually. it is wrong to dismiss this strategy as a mere ironic identification with the aggressor. however. located on the other side of the Moebius band. it definitely can work. the moment it is fully accepted by the group targeted by it. then they say to themselves 'What the hell. let's enjoy it while it lasts!'. and again behave as if nothing terrible is going on. then they start to resort to religious fervour. of aggressivity. However...MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Links . Terms like “African-American” or “Disabled” add insult to injurt. Doctor of Philosophy. etc.. one should therefore claim that the only way actually to abolish the hatred-effect is. but. they return to life as usual. eating. this second 'life as usual' does not occupy the same structural role as the first: it is.American or crippled — disabled — bodily challenged ? This replacement functions as a metaphorical substitution which potentially proliferates and enhances the very (racist. .. rather. 1997.pg 161) In his fonnidable Fear in the Occident. an indelible mark. staging processions. this surplus will not only be more or less automatically transferred on to any of its 'correct' metaphorical substitutes. avoiding contact with each other. since it no longer signals the desperate attempt to ignore the reality of plague. racially. of course. the point is that it functions as an autonomous act of dismissing the aggressive sting. When radical AfricanAmericans call each other 'niggers'. In analogy to Delumeau. to create the circumstances in which one can return to the first link in the chain and use it in a non-aggressive way — like following the patterns of `life as usual' the second time in the case of plague. people ignore it and behave as if nothing terrible is really going on. its exact opposite: resigned acceptance of it . The Plague of Fantasies. and so on. confessing their sins. paradoxically.37 Jean Delumeau draws attention to the unerring succession of attitudes in a medieval city infested by plague: first. like the chain nigger — Negro — black — African. finally.

presenting a conception of politics premised on ideals of participation. some emphasize diversity and tolerance. as long as we refuse to draw a line in the sand and say enough is enough. But this isn’t politics. they see fundamentalism as the primary political problem today.org/index. an impasse in which not which threatens the entire world (not least because of the English speaking countries’ global war on/of terror). particularly Left thought as it remains unable to think through or out of the current hegemony. A willingness to take responsibility for the divisions inseparable from politics seems to have been lost. No 1 <ajt>) Žižek’s work is indispensable to any effort to break out of the present political impasse. Politics involves division.php/ijzs/article/view/18/41. as long as left intellectuals reject anything that smacks of dogmatism. None provides an adequate response to right wing fundamentalists. producers can make action films with global appeal. hardware. It throws generosity back up against the generous. generosity and tolerance won’t work. Its capitalist wing finds ever more creative and ingenious ways to profit. is trying to theorize a politics that includes everything and everyone. this motley crew. and neoliberal capitalist globalizers. equality. inclusion. Particularly odd in radical pluralists’ and deliberative democrats’ focus on fundamentalism is its alliance with the central tenets of the bad guys themselves. IJŽS Vol 1. Prof of political theory at Hobart and Williams smith 2007 (Why Žižek for Political Theory? . opposes the unfolding of freedom in the world. Contemporary Left theorists worry about dogmatism and fundamentalism. and Lacan) enables political theorists to think better about passionate attachments to Slavoj only English speaking and European countries are caught but domination and anxiety in the face of freedom. radically. and software providers wisely nod their heads and pocket their vastly increased revenues. This motley crew of bad guys eschews debate and respect. thought. Others emphasize the multiplicity of ways of being in the world and the importance of an ethos of generosity towards those ways that may differ. local. The problem of Left political global economy. forever accusing them of not being respectful and generous enough. chip.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Link – War on Terror WAR ON TERROR – the strategy of contingency results in global war and destruction via the war on terrorism – only our alternative remedies this violence Dean 07 (Jodi. I begin by approaching this impasse as a barrier to thought. and mutual respect. or relegated to small. ISPs. Against. nationalist ideologues. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 44 . Žižek’s version of dialectical materialism (a combination of Hegel. struggles. as long as we reject a politics of conviction. More precisely. Diversity becomes multiculturalism™: parents can buy colorful multilingual dolls. That is.assc. while telecoms. from our own. saying “yes” to some options and “no” to others. Marx. In response. They may approach diversity from the perspective of democratic debate. http://zizekstudies. Neoconservatives and neoliberals agree that fundamentalism is the most important political problem. educators can buy multicultural teaching kits designed to insure that their students are well-prepared to compete in a democratic debate is easily capitalized: citizens seeking information are ready eyeballs for advertisers. politicians can champion the role of the Internet in keeping their constituencies connected. Likewise. the right will continue its exploitation and repression of most of the world’s peoples. Fundamentalism. they chorus. then.

for a brief moment. or otherwise forgive the hero his trespass. his own Law. insofar as he depends on the other's recognition. A dramatic tension in subjectivity arises from the ambiguity between power and impotence that pertains to the gesture of grace by means of which the Master answers the subject's entreaty. if he refuses clemency. the ultimate proof of his humanity. 1 The first. he takes the risk that the subject's ntreaty will turn into open rebellion. grace expresses the Master's supreme power. the power to rise above one's own law: only a really powerful Master can afford to distribute mercy. a call to him to show mercy. the human mortal. effectively his own servantmapos.USFG Their approach to aid embodies the idea of the master (USFG) to go beyond one’s law and flex the real. by way of his offer of self-sacrifice.s servant? ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 45 . rudimentary form of subjectivity is this voice of the subject beseeching the Master to suspend. Duke University Press Durham 1993 “Tarrying with the negative” Zizek is a senior reasearcher at the institute for social sciences. As to the official ideology. Slovenia. which is basically a supplication addressed to the Master. Yet. 2 Yet this act of grace is at the same time branded by the irreducible mark of a forced empty gesture: the Master ultimately makes a virtue out of necessity. He also has a beard.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Link . University of Ljubljana. Pg. surmounts his finitude and attains the divine heights. this approach only heightens our distance away from the real Zizek 93 (Slavoj Zizek. It is here that we already encounter the intricacies of the dialectic of Master and Servant elaborated later by Hegel: is not the Master. the Master responds with the sublime gesture of Grace. and writes a lot. What we have here is a kind of symbolic exchange between the human subject and his divine Master: when the subject. to make an exception. 165) At the origins of opera there is a precisely defined intersubjective constellation: the relationship of the subject (in both senses of the term: autonomous agent as well as the subject of legal power) to his Master (King or Divinity) is revealed through the hero's recitative (the counterpoint to the collectivity embodied in the chorus). in that he promotes as a free act what he is in any case compelled to do.

MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K

Turn – Can’t Solve in Fantasy
( ). The illusory nature of the fantasy means the promises of the affirmatives case can never be fulfilled. Stavrakakis 99 (Yannis Stavrakakis, “Lacan and the Political” Yannis Stavrakakis is teaching fellow at the department to Government at the University of Essex and director of the M.A. program in Ideology and Discourse Analysis.pg. 54-55)
Fantasy supports reality This signified function of the nodal point is not, however, solely reduced to its discursive position. It is supported by a whole fantasy construction. As Lacan argues in Identification, the object of fantasy comes to occupy the place of the lacking significance marking the nodal point around which the Other is structured (seminar of 27 June 1962). The construction of reality, the illusion of the world as a wellstructured whole, would not be possible without the intervention of this element of fantasy. In Lacan.s view, .everything we are allowed to approach by way of reality remains rooted in fantasy. (XX:95). As Jacques-Alain Miller has put it with a touch of exaggeration, .reality is fantasy. (Miller, 1995:12). Although in common sense usage and even in some psychoanalytic writing fantasy is opposed to reality, such a view of fantasy cannot be sustained within psychoanalytic theory; this is clear from the beginning in Lacan.s theory of fantasy. As I have already pointed out, reality is not some kind of unproblematic given which can be perceived in one and only one objectively correct way, but something which is discursively constructed (Evans, 1996a:59). The fantasmatic dimension of reality is also revealed in the link Lacan draws between reality and desire. In Lacan, the construction of reality is continuous with the field of desire. Desire and reality are intimately connected, argues Lacan in The Logic of Fantasy (seminar of 16 November 1966). The nature of their link can only be revealed in fantasy.

( ). Lost within the fallacy of the ‘other’, we accept atrocities as the norm. Badiou 06 (Alain Badiou, Professor of Philosophy, Université de Paris - Vincennes at Saint-Denis, Politics Unbound, METAPOLITICS, 2006, 69) In both cases, it is the fact that these terms are presented under the aegis of the one, of the primordial bond - of the one within the bond - which makes them into terms of enslavement or decomposition. It is through lack of adequate symbolism and reference to what is right, to the rule, and hence to the dispersal of cases, that masses and party oscillate between the barbarism of the pure Real and the grandiose deception of the Imaginary. Or rather: the masses/party pairing conjoins both, ultimately leading us to idolize the crime as the Real consecrated by the image, or a simulacrum that declares itself the embodiment of meaning.

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MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K

AT: Boothby
Boothby misreads Lacan and his interpretation is bad Zizek 93 (Slavoj Zizek, Duke University Press Durham 1993 “Tarrying with the negative” Zizek is a senior reasearcher at the institute for social sciences, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. He also has a beard, and writes a lot. Pg. 177-178) Against this background, Boothby also reinterprets Lacan's distinction between the two deaths: the first death is the death of the ego, the dissolution of its imaginary identifications, whereas the second death designates the interruption of the pre-symbolic life-flow itself. Here, however, problems begin with this otherwise simple and elegant construction: the price to be paid is that Lacan's theoretical edifice is ultimately reduced to the opposition which characterizes the field of Lebensphilosophie, i.e., to the opposition between an original polymorphous life-force and its later coagulation, confinement to the Procrustian bed of imagos. For this reason, Boothby's scheme has no place for the fundamental Lacanian insight according to which the symbolic order "stands for death" in the precise sense of "mortifying" the real of the body, of subordinating it to a foreign automatism, of perturbing its "natural," instinctual rhythm, thereby producing the surplus of desire, i.e., desire AS a surplus: the very symbolic machine which "mortifies" the living body produces by the same token the opposite of mortification, the immortal desire, the Real of "pure life" which eludes symbolization. To clarify this point, let us turn to an example which, in a first
approach, may seem to confirm Boothby's thesis: Wagner Tristan und Isolde. What precise effect does the philtre provided by Isolde's faithful maid Brangäne have on the future lovers? "Wagner never intends to imply that the love of Tristan and Isolde is the physical consequence of the philtre, but only that the pair, having drunk what they imagine to be the draught of Death and believing that they have looked upon earth and sea and sky for the last time, -179- feel themselves free to confess, when the potion begins its work within them, the love they have so long felt but have concealed from each other and almost from themselves." 28 The point is, therefore, that after drinking the philtre, Tristan and Isolde find themselves in the domain "between the two deaths," alive, yet delivered of all symbolic ties. Only in such a subjective position are they able to confess their love. In other words, the "magical effect" of the philtre is simply to suspend the "big Other," the symbolic reality of social obligations (honors, vows...). Does this thesis not fully accord with Boothby's view of the domain "between the two deaths" as the space where imaginary identification, as well as the symbolic identities attached to it, are all invalidated, so that the excluded Real (pure life-drive) can emerge in all its force, although in the form of its opposite, the death-drive? According to Wagner himself, the passion of Tristan and Isolde expresses the longing for the "eternal peace" of death. The trap to be avoided here, however, is conceiving of this pure life-drive as a substantial entity subsisting prior to its being captured in the symbolic network: this

"optical illusion" renders invisible how it is the very mediation of the symbolic order that transforms the organic "instinct" into an unquenchable longing which can find solace only in death. In other words, this "pure life" beyond death, this longing that reaches beyond the circuit of generation and corruption, is it not the product of symbolization, so that symbolization itself engenders the surplus which escapes it? By conceiving of the symbolic order as an agency which fills out the gap between the Imaginary and the Real opened up by the mirror-identification, Boothby avoids its constitutive paradox: the Symbolic itself opens up the wound it professes to heal.

~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 47

MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K

AT Symbolic Good/Utopianism Good
( ). The idea of a perfect symbolic world gives rise to a new catastrophe; one where the fantasy of the big Other constitutes the symbolic world. Zizek 97(Slavoj Zizek, Doctor of Philosophy, University of Ljubljana, The Plague of Fantasies, 1997,pg 164) The prospect of the accomplished digitalization of all information (all books, movies, data ... computerized and instantly available) promises the almost perfect materialization of the big Other: out there in the machine, 'everything will be written', a complete symbolic redoubling of reality will take place. This prospect of a perfect symbolic accountancy also augurs a new type of catastrophe in which a sudden disturbance in the digital network (an extra effective virus, say) erases the computerized 'big Other', leaving the external 'real reality' intact. We thus arrive at the notion of a purely virtual catastrophe: although, in 'real life', nothing whatsoever happens, and things seem to follow their course, the catas- trophe is total and complete, since 'reality' is all of a sudden deprived of its symbolic support .... As is well known, all large armies are today more and more playing virtual war games, winning or losing battles on computer screens, battles which simulate every conceivable condition of 'real' war. So the question naturally crops up: if we have virtual sex, and so on, why not virtual warfare? Why shouldn't 'real' warfare be replaced by a gigantic virtual war which will be over without the majority of ordinary people being aware that there was any war at all, like the virtual catastrophe which will occur without any perceptible change in the 'real' universe? Perhaps, radical virtualization — the fact that the whole of reality will soon be 'digitalized', transcribed, redoubled in the 'big Other' of cyberspace — will somehow redeem 'real life', opening it up to a new perception, just as Hegel already had a presentiment that the end of art (as the 'sensible appearing of the Idea'), which occurs when the Idea withdraws from the sensible medium into its more direct conceptual expression, simultaneously liberates sensibility from the constraints of Idea?

~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 48

Professor of Philosophy. for the irreducible medley of imaginary formations (religions. follow different religions. in truth a tourist's fascination for the diversity of morals. But what we must recognize is that these differences hold no interest for thought. its 'recognition' and its social workers. so differences are then precisely what truths depose. ETHICS AN ESSAY ON THE UNDERSTANDING OF EVIL. who wear different sorts of headgear.). without changing its means of investigation. directly inherited from the astonishment of the colonial encounter with savages. Its conception of the 'other' is informed mainly by this kind of differences. The objective (or historical) foundation of contemporary ethics is culturalism. . confronted by an ethics that offers. University of Paris. customs and beliefs. genuine thought should affirm the following principle: since differences are what there is and since every truth is the coming-to-beof that which is not yet.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K AT We help the ‘other’ ( ). Its great ideal is the peaceful coexistence of cultural. No light is shed on any concrete situation by the notion of the 'recognition of the other'. And we must not forget that there are also savages among us (the drug addicts of the banlieues. or render insignificant. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 49 . And in particular. that they amount to nothing more than the infinite and self-evident multiplicity of humankind. have complex and varied relations to sexuality. and national 'communities'. and such is the way of the world. prefer authority or disorder. the refusal of 'exclusion'. 26-27) Contemporary ethics kicks up a big fuss about 'cultural' differences. as obvious in the difference between me and my cousin from Lyon as it is between the Shi'ite 'community' of Iraq and the fat cowboys of Texas. incarnations of authority . religious. . sexual representations. Yes. Against these trifling descriptions (of a reality that is both obvious and inconsistent in itself). the essential 'objective' basis of ethics rests on a vulgar sociology. The ethical conception of the ‘other’ does nothing in the real Badiou 01 (Alain Badiou. religious sects — the whole journalistic paraphernalia of menacing internal alterity). 2001. who have their different ways of eating and speaking. Every modern collective configuration involves people from everywhere.

to its imposition of a certain universe of meaning. the obvious signals of violence are acts of crime and terror. Properly humanitarian considerations as a rule play a less important role here than cultural. the counterpart to an all-too-visible subjective violence. It may be invisible." As we shall see later. Zizek 08 (Slavoj Zizek is a senior researcher at the University of Slovenia Ljubljana. Time picked the wrong victim in the struggle for hegemony in suffering. It is seen as a perturbation of the "normal." peaceful state of things. First. Objective violence is invisible since it sustains the very zero-level standard against which we perceive something as subjectively violent. just a couple of readers' letters-as if some kind of filtering mechanism blocked this news from achieving its full impact in our symbolic space. what Heidegger would call "our house of being. there is a "symbolic" violence embodied in language and its forms. The Congo today has effectively re-emerged as a Conradean "heart of darkness. None of the usual humanitarian uproar followed. is mediatically worth thousands of times more than the death of a nameless Congolese. ideologico-political. objective violence is precisely the violence inherent to this "normal" state of things. there is what I call "systemic" violence. Systemic violence should take precedence as it constructs the subjective force. perhaps even the axiom. The cover story of Time magazine on 5 June 2006. It should have stuck to the list of usual suspects: Muslim women and their plight. to disentangle ourselves from the fascinating lure of this directly visible "subjective" violence. Second. violence performed by a clearly identifiable agent. for example. was "The Deadliest War in the World. When the media bombard us with those "humanitarian crises" which seem constantly to pop up all over the world. The catch is that subjective and objective violence cannot be perceived from the same standpoint: subjective violence is experienced as such against the background of a non-violent zero level. international conflict." No one dares to confront it head on. He also has a beard. or the often catastrophic consequences of the smooth functioning of our economic and political systems. However. A step back enables us to identify a violence that sustains our very efforts to fight violence and to promote tolerance. distractions with subjective violence only allows the systemic to slide by unnoticed. it is that a similar paradox holds true for violence.) If there is a unifying thesis that runs through the bric-a-brac of reflections on violence that follow. or the families of 9/11 victims and how they have coped with their losses. this violence is not only at work in the obvious-and extensively studied-cases of incitement and of the relations of social domination reproduced in our habitual speech forms: there is a more fundamental form of violence still that pertains to language as such. but it has to be taken into account if one is to make sense of what otherwise seem to be "irrational" explosions of subjective violence. Violence. not to mention an Israeli or an American.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K AT: You Cause Violence ( ). The death of a West Bank Palestinian child. one should always bear in mind that a partic ular crisis only explodes into media visibility as the result of a complex struggle. We need to perceive the contours of the background which generates such outbursts. This is the starting point. But we should learn to step back. civil unrest. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 50 . At the forefront of our minds." This offered detailed documentation on how around 4 million people died in the Democratic Republic of Congo as the result of political violence over the last decade. To put it cynically. of the present book: subjective violence is just the most visible portion of a triumvirate that also includes two objective kinds of violence. Systemic violence is thus something like the notorious "dark matter" of physics. Short term subjective violence should not be the main preoccupation in the round. and economic considerations.

exactly because. obviously.) In fact. deconstruction also refuses to implicate itself in traditional politics. fantasmatic. Lacan locates the end of analysis beyond identification. normalising capitalist damage. as argued in the previous chapter. my emphasis). deconstruction in fact generalizes what is meant by the political well beyond the local sense of politics.A. the political is located beyond the utopian or quasi-utopian sedimentations of political reality. rejecting cure or happiness as possible goals'. Since utopian or quasi-utopian constructions function through identification it is legitimate. according to Collier. Faced with the alienating dimension of every identification. The alleged irrelevance of Lacan for radical politics is also the argument put forward by Collier in a recent article in Radical Philosophy. to draw the analogies with the social field. Collier's argument is that since it is capitalism that shatters our wholeness and disempowers us (as if without capitalism we would be on the road to utopia. Surprisingly enough this is almost identical with Homer's conclusion: Lacanian theory is OK as an analytical tool but let us go back to Marx for our ideological seminar and our utopian catechism! It is clear that from a Lacanian point of view it is necessary to resist all such `reoccupations' of traditional fantasmatic politics. capitalism occupies the structural position of the antichrist in this sort of leftist preaching). but alienating. I think. program in Ideology and Discourse Analysis. Since the projection of any decision has ethical implications. role in the formation of subjectivity – why should psychoanalytic politics. 1998: 413). in fact. precisely because alienation is so deep for Lacan that nothing can be done to eliminate it (`Lacan is deeply pessimistic. which is not the same as saying that psychoanalysis is apolitical: in fact.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K AT: Perm ( ). (Beardsworth. At least this is the strategy that Lacan follows on similar occasions. after unmasking the crucial but alienating character of traditional. “Lacan and the Political” Yannis Stavrakakis is teaching fellow at the department to Government at the University of Essex and director of the M. If analysis resists the 'reoccupation' of the traditional strategy of identification – although it recognises its crucial. the radicality and political importance of the Lacanian critique depends on its ability to keep its distance from fantasmatic politics. psychological theory in general has no political implications whatsoever.19 Thus Lacan has nothing to offer radical politics. The conclusion is predictable: 'Let us go to Freud and Klein for our psychotherapy [Lacan is of course excluded] and to Marx and the environmental sciences for our politics. it becomes political precisely by being critical of traditional politics. and not get our lines crossed' (Collier. For Beardsworth. In this sense it becomes a radical 'critique' of institutions. firstly. an account of why all political projects fail. identificatory politics. then Lacan's theory is. deconstruction forms. from politics in the traditional sense. 1996: 19) Similarly. In order to ascend to a realm where we come closer to understanding the lack we need to distance ourselves from fantasies Stavrakakis 99 (Yannis Stavrakakis. 'reoccupy' their ground? This rationale underlying the Lacanian position is not far away from what Beardsworth articulates as a political reading of Derrida. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 51 . in the 'local sense of politics' in Beardsworth's terminology: In its affirmative refusal to advocate a politics. Something not entirely surprising since. articulating Lacanian theory with fantasmatic politics is equivalent to affirming the irrelevance of Lacanian theory for radical politics since this articulation presupposes the repression of all the political insights implicit in Lacan's reading and highlighted in this book.

Put away your perm: the alt necessitates the absolute rejection of universal principles of ethics and rights. everything that affirms the strictly generic universality of all members of the situation. is fully subordinate to the particularity of a truth. then. a break sparked by an event that eludes classification in the situation. its universality is a rigorously situated project in something like the Sartrean sense: it persists as an unending compilation of what. no general principle of human rights. Hallward 01 (Peter Hallward. It can take place only through a break with the status quo. King’s College. as the basis for an established consensus. for the simple reason that what is universally human is always rooted in particular truths. ETHICS AN ESSAY ON THE UNDERSTANDING OF EVIL.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K AT: Perm ( ). particular configurations of active thought. regardless of interest or privilege. 2001. in the situation. And it can continue only through a fidelity guarded against its Evil distortion. There can be no ‘ethics in general’. is addressed ‘for all’. Simply. Lecturer in French. A truth compiles. step by step. The point is that any such generic affirmation cannot be made ‘in theory’ or a priori. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 52 . xiv) Badiou’s fundamentally ‘divisive’ ethics makes no less of a claim to universality than does its ideological rival. ‘The’ ethic of truth. regardless of state-sanctioned distinctions (and thus against those who continue to defend those privileges and distinctions).

as a point of symbolic identification. we may posit an enemy assessing our every action. The point. aware of what we are doing (a positing that. observation and surveillance. passive. for Zizek. then. Zizek understands this gaze as the ego ideal. Zizek addresses a peculiar fact about the subject’s performance of its practices: the gaze before which it imagines itself performing. Dean 05 (Jodi Dean “Enjoyment as a Category of Political Thought. Instead.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K AT Perm ( ). presences and regulations. Only psychoanalysis addresses the gaze of the Other which makes possible political action.”19 Following Lacan. is that through symbolic identification the subject posits the very entity it understands itself as responding to. unfortunately. Similarly. the panopticon as introduced by Jeremy Bentham and elaborated by Foucault). the gaze is a crucial supposition for the very capacity to act at all. This gaze. branches. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 53 . and designs for education and punishment. unsure as to the point of doing anything at all. Absent that gaze. in our daily activities we posit the state as a kind of entity. for example). The gaze is the point from which one sees one’s actions as valuable and worthwhile. 2005. one may feel trapped. as making sense. The gaze is more than the product of a particular architecture intended to install normalizing judgment and discipline the behavior of the observed (for example. makes ever more sense as it is materialized in surveillance technologies). Instead of experiencing the state as myriad forms and organizations.) Zizek also differs from Foucault with respect to the status or place of the subjectivized practices. structures our relation to our practices. This gaze constitutes “the Other who registers my acts in the symbolic network. Identifying with the gaze enables the subject to be active. Whereas Foucault accounts for the unity of disciplinary practices by referring to the dispersion of specific logics of power (logics around confession and speaking. and edicts. then. examination and judgment as they take material form in architectures.”Annual Meeting of American Political Science Association. And how it imagines this other will be crucial to the kinds of activities the subject can undertake. an other. say. urban planning.

1992:132). but. indeed seems to introduce a certain principle which cannot be by-passed. the real before it becomes reality. Fellow. that we come close to the real of nature. Of necessity this is a principle affecting the structure of knowledge and science in late modern societies. It is in that sense that—as argued in Chapter 2—Lacanian theory opens the road to a realist constructionism or a constructionist realism. however. can be encountered in the failure of every construction. an otherness escaping all our representations. but such a ymbolisation can take at least two forms: first. We must recognize the unrepresentational nature of the real – all efforts that attempt to construct a social order will fail – thus their perm and link turn arguments get them nowhere Stavrakakis 99 (Yannis Stavrakakis. Well. that of nature. something which cannot be symbolically integrated. however. if in fact we can. 1999. our construction of external reality. nevertheless. a cloak of abstractions which obscures that discomforting wildness that defies our paranoid urge to delineate the boundaries of Being’ (Evernden. unrepresentable.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K AT: Perm and Link Turn ( ). The only moment in which we come face to face with the irreducible real beyond representation is when our constructions are dislocated. within our symbolisations. LACAN AND THE POLITICAL: THINKING THE POLITICS. in which transaction they ceased to be themselves and became instead functionaries in the world of social discourse [?]’ (Evernden. meets a stumbling block. is acknowledge this failure.: 118). 86) In the face of the irreducibility of the real we have no other option but to symbolise. The crucial question regarding our access to the natural world becomes now: how can we then. is nothing but ‘a mode of concealment. University of Essex. Only when these boundaries collapse. One final point before concluding this section: when applied to our own discourse isn’t this recognition introducing a certain ethical principle? Recognising at the same time the impossibility of mastering the real and our obligation to recognise this impossibility through the failure of our attempts to symbolise it. Every attempt to construct what is impossible to be constructed fails due to our entrapment within the world of construction. 1992:110). this constitutive impossibility. all our representations of reality are doomed to fail due to their symbolic character. before its symbolisation? This is the question posed by Evernden: how can we return to things ‘before they were captured and explained. in that minute intermission before we draw new ones. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 54 . Let me illustrate this point by returning to one of the examples I used earlier. in fact we can’t. Nature. it does so by accepting the priority of a real which is. Trapped as we are within the world of social meaning. constructed Nature. a fantasmatic one which will attempt to repress the real and to eliminate once and for all its structural causality. can we sense the unheimlich of real nature. what we can do. How can we encounter the pre-symbolic Other in its radical otherness. Psychoanalysis favours the second and more complex one: the articulation of symbolic constructs that will include a recognition of the real limits of the symbolic and will attempt to symbolically ‘institutionalise’ real lack. approach nature before it becomes Nature. if he is always ‘beyond’? (ibid. It is only when Nature.

We accept some¬one's gifts and ministrations because we love him. your discourse has neither force nor truth Badiou 01 (Alain Badiou. is what Lacan calls the object a. And since it is that something beyond the gifts that we love and not the gifts themselves. by any refutation of the subject's speech— because it posits a subject that is the same without being self-identical didn't love Reagan for what he said. or to 'multiculturalism' (against the imposition of a unified model of behaviour and intellectual approach). It is this object that allowed Reagan to be Reagan. University of Paris. to The unnameable excess. Read my Desires. American It is important not to confuse the object a with some poetical or essentialist notion of the subject. This commonsensical discourse has neither force nor truth. 20) Whether they know it or not. 1994. the surplus that overruns what is said and that "always comes back to the same place. but simply because he was Reagan. For the honour of philosophy. then you perforce know something about Lacan. ( ). you know what he means when he says that love is giving what you do not have. precluding solvency Copjec 94 (Joan Copjec. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 55 . ETHICS AN ESSAY ON THE UNDERSTANDING OF EVIL. claims to help the “other” essentialize the subject. Professor of Philosophy. 2001. between 'recognition of the other' and Identitarian' fixity. This object does not precede the statement but is instead its retroactive effect. it is first of all necessary to admit that this ideology of a 'right to difference'." always designates the same thing—again. what it left intact was the object a. He means that what one loves in another is something more than the other. which would deny this other). which would exclude immigrants. quite simply. retroactively—no matter how selfcontradictory the statements that produce it. and so we might say that television didn't have to know find fault with all the other's manifestations. anything he has to give. or to 'the ethics of differences' (against substantialist nationalism. Buffalo University. it was in this object—and obviously not in his statements—that his consistency was to be found. which consists of not being offended by the fact that others think and act differently from you . the contemporary catechism of goodwill with regard to 'other cultures'. to good old-fashioned 'tolerance'. or sexism. we do not love him because he gives us these gifts. and still love the other—as the behavior of the hysteric makes clear. it is possible to dislike the gifts. Professor of English & Director of the Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Culture. some unnameable thing that exceeds any of the other's manifestations. This is why it cannot be dispersed by any simple appeal to the referent. it is in the name of this configuration that the proponents of ethics explain to us today that it amounts to 'recognition of the other' (against racism. anything of Lacanian theory in order to bang its head against this object.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K AT: But were helping! ( ). Or. between 'the ethics of difference' and 'racism'. are strikingly distant from Levinas's actual conception of things. the instance of enunciation—that very thing which the "realist imbecility" always and necessarily (as the condition of its possibility) disregards. Pg 143) If you know anything about love. Referential appeals in the symbolic do nothing. What tele¬vision attacked was the president's statements. which would deny feminine-being). It is defeated in advance in the competition it declares between 'tolerance' and 'fanaticism'. the exorbitant thing that is loved. ‘Recognition of the Other’ is not enough.

ETHICS AN ESSAY ON THE UNDERSTANDING OF EVIL. Psychoanalysis explains brilliantly how this construction of the Ego in the identification with the other . can be explained as follows: the ethical primacy of the Other over the Same requires that the experience of alterity be ontologically ‘guaranteed’ as the experience of a distance. precisely because it is ‘objectified’ for my consciousness.but also fairly superficial . however. A ‘mimetic’ conception that locates original access to the other in my own redoubled image also sheds light on that element of self-forgetting that characterizes the grasping of this other: what I cherish is that me-myself-at-a-distance which. 21) The principal . ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 56 . 2001. The difficulty.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K AT: Levinas ( ). Badiou 01 (Alain Badiou. and thus lead back to the logic of the Same. As always. or of an essential non-identity. Here. founds me as a stable construction. my own archaic desire for self-destruction). as an interiority accessible in its exteriority. of love. Professor of Philosophy.this mirror-effect . we are a very long way from what Levinas wants to tell us. University of Paris. or as imitation. The other always resembles me too much for the hypothesis of an originary exposure to his alterity to be necessarily true. in addition. which also defines the point of application for these axioms. Levinas’s conception of the other feeds narcissism and violence. But nothing in the simple phenomenon of the other contains such a guarantee. of the caress. to make explicit the axioms of thought that decide an orientation. cannot by themselves ground the anti-ontological (or anti-identitarian) thesis of the author of Totality and Infinity. We need. the pure analysis of phenomenal appearing cannot decide between divergent orientations of thought.objection that we might make to ethics in Levinas’s sense is: what is it that testifies to the originality of my devotion to the Other? The phenomenological analyses of the face. And this simply because the finitude of the other’s appearing certainly can be conceived as resemblance. the traversal of which is the ethical experience itself.combines narcissism (I delight in the exteriority of the other in so far as he figures as myself made visible to myself) and aggressivity (I invest in the other my death drive.

of which moreover capitalist profit is merely the legal formalization. This consideration is of no interest. Egoistic self-interest carries one away. then. Grandeur is considered a metaphysical evil. it is nothing more than the rule of impulses. CABINET MAGAZINE ISSUE. I am convinced that the murder of five children is actually tied to a brutal renunciation of the Good. Professor of Philosophy. Certainly. A Truth is the subjective development of that which is at once both new and universal. I would still be subordinating politics to humanistic and Christian morality: I would say: ―Let’s fight against Evil. fighting for truth is different that fighting against evil Badiou 02 (Alain Badiou. New: that which is unforeseen by the order of creation. that’s the only case in which it makes any sense to speak of Evil. Me. it is necessary to propose another theory of Evil. sometimes self-denial. Evil would be to compromise on the question of the Good. To say that liberal capitalism is Evil would not change anything. That requires effort. I am for heroism. Even the case that you cite above—the woman who drowns her five infants—springs from this vision of things.php) Were I to reverse the tables. not to think big. is to participate in the coming into being of a universal novelty. The debate you raise is absurd: Obviously. One has seen everywhere good people becoming torturers. In any case. Evil is the moment when I lack the strength to be true to the Good that compels me. Talking about capitalism does nothing. My philosophy desires affirmation. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 57 . There is Evil each time egoism leads to the renunciation of a Truth.cabinetmagazine. I want to fight for. define Evil in one phrase: Evil is the interruption of a truth by the pressure of particular or individual interests. I would leave everything in place. essentially. She also kills her children. a general revolt. To give up is always Evil. http://www.‖ of ―surpassing.‖ of ―deconstructing.‖ etc. I am for grandeur. To become a subject (and not remain a simple human animal). But that is to say. renounce a passionate love. Universal: that which can interest. I often say it’s necessary to be the ―activist‖ of a Truth. University of Paris.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K AT: We Deconstruct Cap/State ( ). The question of Evil starts when one can say what Good one is talking about.org/issues/5/alainbadiou. I am for the affirmation of the thought and the deed. One can. I want to know what I have for the Good and to put it to work. and develops as fidelity to the novelty thus experimented. To renounce liberation politics. May 2002. The real question underlying the question of Evil is the following: What is the Good? All my philosophy strives to answer this question.‖ But I’ve had enough of ―fighting against.‖ of ―putting an end to. endurance. rightly. because this murder is entirely dependent on her love for Jason. I refuse to be content with the ―least evil. For complex reasons. one is de-subjectivized. Then. in the tragic sense of the term. governed by the lowest interests.‖ It is very fashionable right now to be modest. risking the interruption of the whole progress of a truth (and thus of the Good). every human individual. All that is short of Good and Evil. or peaceful citizens brutalizing people over insignificant things. as you suggest. It only reminds us that the human species is an animal species. And it’s not Evil. everyone is ―capable‖ of everything. another theory of the Good. a surprising new invention). according to his pure humanity (which I call his generic humanity). A Truth is a concrete process that starts by an upheaval (an encounter. renounce an artistic creation…. in the form of a love process. The myth that one thinks of is Medea. I give the Good the name ―Truths‖ (in the plural).

opens up the space of the demand for a new Master whose arbitrary gesture would declare some version the 'final' one.pg 151) The supreme example of symbolic virtuality. in some indefinite future. of course. which is that symbolic power is by definition virtual. in which a gay offers part of his body (penis. And Lacan's point apropos of the phallus as signifier is that the same 'institutional' logic is at work already in the intimate domain of male sexuality: just as a judge needs his symbolic crutches. this is by definition a sign of his impotence. it is the big Other of the symbolic institution which is speaking through him: without the prosthesis of his symbolic title. the dimension of virtuality and the function of 'interface' are consubstantial with the symbolic order.sors: is not the notorious square opening in the side wall of the restroom. does the 'digital break' consist? Let us begin with an anecdotal observation.' This is how Switzerland likes to treat an unfortunate foreign worker: your stay there can never be fully legitimized. is a weak and corrupt person. This actuality of the virtual. This uncertainty. you stand a chance. provisional). however. the most you can get is the admission which allows you to dwell in a kind of in-between state — you are never positively accepted. his 'real power' would instantly disintegrate. anus) to the anonymous partner on the other side. phallus as a signifier. in 'real life'. but the moment he puts on the insignia of his symbolic mandate. the problem with writing on the computer is that it potentially suspends the difference between `mere drafts' and the 'final version': there is no longer a 'final version' or a 'definitive text'. since at every stage the text can be further worked on ad infinitum — every version has the status of something 'virtual' (conditional. in order to exert his authority. A foreigner who wants to teach in Switzerland has to appear before a state agency called the Comite de l'habitant. you are just not yet rejected and thus retained with a vague promise that. painful as it may be). thereby bringing about the 'collapse' of the ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 58 . is just redoubling. is a paper stating that he is not to be refused it — a double negation which. is that of (the psychoanalytic notion of) castration: the feature which distinguishes symbolic castration from the 'real' kind is precisely its virtual character. the very notion of 'interface' has its pre-digital precur. penis. of course. is that nobody can get this certificate — the most a foreigner can get. his insignia. in the case of a positive decision. another virtual penis whose existence is purely symbolic — that is. with my 'real. power-in-reserve. Furthermore. following as a shadow. the paradox. the 'virtual' castration) already produces real 'castrating' effects. a man needs a reference to the absent—virtual Phallus if his penis is to exert its potency. . We Solve Best: Symbolic Orders conflate the Real with the symbolic. in what. As any academic knows.. the threat of its full use which never actually occurs (when a father loses his temper and explodes.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K AT We Deconstruct Cap/State ( ). yet another version of the function of interface? Is the subject not thereby reduced to the partial object as the primordial phantasmic object? And is not this reduction of the subject to a partial object offered in the interspace-opening also the elementary sadistic scene? If. then. Swiss bureaucracy provides an illustrative case of this effectivity of virtuality. . Doctor of Philosophy. and to apply for a Certificat de bonne vie et mceurs. University of Ljubljana. That is to say: Freud's notion of castration anxiety has any meaning at all only if we suppose that the threat of castration (the prospect of castration. the alt overcomes the symbolic and destroys the power you seek to rebel against Zizek 97 (Slavoj Zizek. has to be connected to the basic paradox of power. which defines symbolic castration as opposed to the 'real' kind. The consequence of this conflation of actual with virtual is a kind of transubstantiation: every actual activity appears as a 'form of appearance' of another 'invisible' power whose status is purely virtual — the 'real' penis turns into the form of appearance of (the virtual) phallus. is not yet a positive decision. 1997. The Plague of Fantasies. That is the paradox of castration: whatever I do in reality. however. Let us recall the example of a judge who. of course. and so on.

known allegorical dimension of the film. yet precisely as such it is stricto sensu empty. Doe is a kind of Capra self. The solution would be authentic if we were to witness the birth of a true radical movement. aimed at destroying the political and economic power of people like Norton. who effectively corrupted the movement in the first place. Zizek 97 (Slavoj Zizek. The Plague of Fantasies. and this very void is ideology. AT We Deconstruct Cap/Utopianism fails ( ). on the other hand. We never learn what their new ‘world’ would look like. this new populism will consist. a selfreferential assertion of authenticity.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K virtual infinity into definitive reality. a kind of hollow container open to a multitude of incompatible readings. precisely. what is missing is simply the turn towards organizing a labour movement and changing the very material conditions in which people like Norton can thrive. from Fascism to Communism: we never learn in what.portrait (Capra himself was traumatized by his own success. In other words. in so far as he did not effectively question the power of the studio system. unable as he was to accept the fact that he was the author who could incite such enthusiasm in the public. challenging material conditions is an authentic solution.pg 149-150) In the same way. The emptiness of the existing solution becomes evident if one tries to imagine a possible sequel to the film: what will follow? Will it be possible for the new authentic Doe populism to thrive in the same society which concocted it as a means of manipulation? Or. the solution of Doe is apparently 'radical' (a 'true' populist movement no longer manipulated by — and playing the game of — big Capital). the real-life Nortons)? The resolution proposed by the film is exactly correlative to the fact that Capra himself was allowed to continue with his populist foolery. 1997. Doctor of Philosophy. he underwent a kind of 'crisis of investiture' and considered himself a fake. if we take the well. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 59 . University of Ljubljana. he considered himself manipulated by the studio bosses.

Lacan's point here is that this absence of Destiny. to confess your guilt. The Plague of Fantasies. of the symbolic frame which determines our guilt in advance. that there are no iron laws of History.Christian tragedy. The modern. Doctor of Philosophy. no one 'really believes' in the universal Destiny inherent in the cosmic Order (be it Christian Faith or Communism) — when. that the Necessity of Progress towards Communism is not as inexorable as we pretend). or even his treason. that the Leader is impotent. of the subject guilty without his active participation. but to acknowledge this would add up to a total catastrophe.' This underlying logic of the Stalinist show trials thus bears direct witness to the fact that Communism is no longer a substantial Faith. on the contrary. post. to put it in Hegelese. University of Ljubljana.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K AT We Deconstruct Cap/State ( ). that Power is an imposture) imposes on the subject an even more radical servitude than the traditional subordination to the full authority of the Master. but a modern Faith relying on the subject's readiness to sacrifice himself and to assume guilt in order to keep hidden the fact that 'the father is humiliated'. The only way to save the appearance — to safeguard the Party and its Leader as historical Reason incarnate. Lacan elaborates the distinction between classical and modern tragedy: classical tragedy is the tragedy of Destiny. In his analysis of Paul Claudel's Coufontaine trilogy. They still link to the criticism: Overthrowing “the Master” does not acknowledge that the Other does not exist Zizek 97 (Slavoj Zizek. but imposes on us an even more radical tragic guilt — as he puts it. guilt is inscribed into his very position in the symbolic network of Destiny. to avoid imputing to the Leader and the Party the responsibility for our evident failures — is for you to assume the responsibility for our failures — that is to say. the subject's tragic fate hinges on the fact that he becomes the hostage of the Word. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 60 .35 The supreme example of this new tragic predicament is the fate of the sacrificed Stalinist Communist: this example makes it clear how — to put it succinctly — the subject is called upon to sacrifice himself in order to save the appearance (of the Master's or Leader's omnipotence and knowledge) — to prevent the Master's impotence from becoming visible to all the world. 1997. that we have made a lot of mistakes.pg 158-159) The suspension of the Master. not only does not make us free. takes place in a universe in which 'God is dead' — that is. Faith loses its substantial weight — it becomes crucial to maintain the appearance of Faith. in no way gives rise to liberating effects: the knowledge that 'the Other doesn't exist' (that the Master is impotent. the underlying line of argumentation is: 'We all know that the big Other doesn't exist (that our Leader is not perfect. When. When a true believer in Stalinist Communism is asked to confess his deviancy. The subject is not called upon to sacrifice himself for the Truth of the Faith: he is called upon to sacrifice himself precisely so that the fact that 'the big Other doesn't exist' will continue to be invisible. in the post-classical universe. so that the idealized figure of the Leader embodying the big Other will remain intact and unblemished. which reveals impotence. our lives are no longer preordained by the cosmic frame of Destiny.

" ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 61 . 'directed in what is called [its] total intentionality'. In other words. for he is now able to remould reality i n accordance with it. to replace every lost appendage or damaged organ with another. Man came to be said enough to know how it does so. is recuperated by being embodied or imagined in objects with a certain sheen which we no longer simply want. Rot[z]wang. superior one endowed with fantastic powers. Prosthetic gods. we do not simply bring our fantasies closer to reality. But Lacan stresses the underside of this merger. how it gets us to surrender ourselves to it. that the whole of the subject's corporeal presence is engaged or chiasmically intertwined with the Other. The notion of interface (which pretends to antiquate the psychoanalytic conception of the subject) is only the most recent retooling of that phenomenological assumption against which Lacan repeatedly railed: namely. Lacan: the silent partners. it became more difficult to hold on to the idea that pleasure had the power to programme reality. by an occult. The gleaming. The reality (of the market) principle was clearly calling the shots. One of the best depictions of the takeover of pleasure by reality is still to be found in Walter Benjamin's notion of aura. we experience their remodelling by the market into mise en scenes of the postponement of desire. as having triumphed over and supplanted every other realm and every other form of truth. interface is not to be confused. This is the heart of the conception of the cosmopolitical subject. indestructible aura. the S1 placed in the bottomleft corner of the University Discourse. telling the pleasure principle in what to invest and what pleasures ought to be sacrificed to get the best returns on those investments. The image Freud paints is of a friendly takeover of reality by the pleasure principle. that aura appeared for the first time only with capitalism. the difference between satisfaction anticipated and satisfaction obtained. the pleasure principle and the reality principle are no longer in competition. as in Fritz Lang's Metropolis.' In this alethosphere (alethosphere because this space and everything in it is built on the demonstrable truths. yet he taught us enough to know that it could not have existed before capitalism. Directory of the Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Culture. May ’68. but have merged to form a kind of corporation. maimed wizard. Mans techno-scientific mastery of the world merges the Real with pleasure – seeing the “Other” as malleable. As the twentieth century wore on. without roots. more within reach. the merger of the principles of reality and pleasure is coextensive with a merger of subject and Other. but want more of. 2006) The myth is probably inspired by the section of Civilization and its Discontents where Freud speaks of modern man's capacity to remake himself as 'a kind of prosthetic God'. University of Buffalo. however. and the utopian view of science gave way to dystopian visions. This loss. Patched into a surface network of social circuitry. This certain historical moment. How are we to understand this logic if not in the terms Freud gave us: an original loss. rigorous and mathematical. into the Other of the scientific world. globalized city erected in the alethosphere turns out to be ruled. which presents the former with a set of blueprints for the global cyber-city of its dreams. The first point that needs to be made is this: viewed as a being without foundation. to bring things closer to us. Benjamin writes as though aura was destroyed when we began. but we have not yet if the subject becomes conceivable as completely intertwined with the Other. the master. while capitalism grew more muscular. the subject 'interfaces' with the Other. specifically as that which had been lost. by means of capitalist production. then. advanced capitalist world. had a rather odd effect. with what is in Lacanian terms referred to as `extimacy'. In the alethosphere. since the eradication of the intervening existence between us and things created 'the unique phenomenon of a distance' and a now more rigid. Man is totally taken up. nomadic. or as so intertwined with the Other as to be infinitely mouldable.' At a that moment when the social configuration Lacan calls the 'University Discourse' was first set in place. the Emotional Month. Capitalism drives and profits from this conception of the malleability of man.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K AT: Technology Solves ( ). plugged-in subject does not need to flee reality in order to indulge his pleasure principle. this is because modern science comes to be conceived as universal. fallen to the level of superegoic urgings to 'Keep on yearning'. without exception. a system which is ruled by continual yearning for perfection Copjec 06 (Joan Copjec. of modern science) the prosthetically enhanced. castrated. however. or what it is we surrender. homeless man of the world. reality — including man — began to be conceived as fully manipulable. in the ultra-modern.

Lacan: the silent partners. Copjec 06 (Joan Copjec. which .MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K AT: We abandon our ‘master’ ( ). casting their lot with the student radicals. Aligning himself neither against nor on the side of the student radicals. be careful of asking for a new master – you might just get it. Some conservative old fossils attempted to quash the rebellion. the ‘University’ cannot be abandoned so easily. everything seemed to have been turned upside down and inside out. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 62 . Seminaire XVII: L'envers de la psychanalyse [The Underside (or Reverse) of PsychoanalysisJ. however.1 In this seminar Lacan maintained that although the students wanted to believe they were abandoning the university for the streets. Detecting in their cries a plea for a new Master. while more liberal-minded. he simply accused them of not being radical enough. 2006) Emotions ran high in Paris in May '68. Sensing the peril of ignoring the groundswell of emotion. As shown during the incidents of May ’68. it had already begun to take them over . the Emotional Month. In the upheaval. of behaving like unwitting flunkies of the university against which they imagined themselves to be in revolt. faculty responded immediately. Directory of the Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Culture. avuncular types 'took to the barricades'.as well as the streets. into either camp. Which is why even certain elements of their revolt reflected academic business as usual. but variously. he warned that they were on the verge of getting one. particularly among students in the universities. the university was not so easily abandoned. The response of Jacques Lacan did not fit. University of Buffalo.became clouded with roily sediment. reason became crimson-faced. Both camps permitted themselves a little more passion than usual. precisely because 'usual' seemed to have evaporated in the hurly-burly of dissent. May ’68. The monitory finger he held in their faces assumed the form of a year-long seminar.suddenly agitated . including reason. Less cool-headed and clear.

democracy leads to the totalitarian power structure Copjec 94 (Joan Copjec. no one need possess power. . argue that all groups are basically totalitarian in nature. Buffalo University. Instead it provides an analysis that allows us to see how totalitarianism follows —but not inevitably—from democracy. as is sometimes proposed. Pg 158-159) Psychoanalysis does not. . for failing to distinguish democracy from its subversion in totalitarianism. but in need of elaboration."" The phrasing is exact. everyone became subjected to it. no. Isn't it precisely this notion of "no one" that justifies the collapse? Justifies. disciplinary society: that no one need occupy the central tower in the panopticon. 1994." ". Professor of English & Director of the Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Culture. for by itself it admits of more than one interpretation. We may as well state at the outset that the "no one" of Foucault's theory does not seem to be quite the same as the "no one" of Lefort's. Have we not argued that a totemic society is founded on this very same principle. But under what conditions can democracy be maintained and totalitarianism forestalled? Lefort's formula is still the best: "Power is and remains democratic [only] when it proves to belong to no one. for power to exert itself? And yet we have also argued that a totemic society initiates the subversion of democracy and have criticized Foucault for collapsing different forms of modern power.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K AT: Totalitarianism ( ). but facilitates. certainly—by lending to Foucault's theory just that quiver of paradox that has so far proved seductive: at the very moment when power began to be wielded by no one. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 63 . that of the exclusion of the primal father from the community of brothers? And hasn't Foucault made the same argument about the modern. Psychoanalysis does not hold that we are all totalitarian in nature. when it proves to belong to no one. however. Read my Desires.

it enables annihilation and full-scale destruction of the symbolic “reality”. Language can only present itself to the subject as a veil that cuts off from view a reality that is other than what we are allowed to see.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K AT: Discourse Solves ( ). Copjec 94 (Joan Copjec. It is this question that suspends the automatic attribution of existence to everything that is thought and instead raises the possibility of conceiving nonexistence: nothing. 1994. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 64 . Professor of English & Director of the Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Culture. determinate meaning. some question of meaning's reliability. Read my Desires. language produces always some¬thing more. it enables us to think the annihilation. or delaying. This logic must now be extended to take note of the fact that this very opacity also guarantees that whatever reality or meaning is produced by them will never be able to convince us of its truth or completeness. To say that the mechanisms of language acquire a certain organic elasticity—recall the point on which Freud turned the Bergsonian argument against itself—is to say that in stretching be¬yond. Signification gives rise inevitably to doubt. Since signifiers are not trans¬parent. to the possibility of its own negation. they cannot demonstrate that they are not hiding something behind what they say—they cannot prove that they do not lie. the full-scale destruction of our entire signified reality. Pg 55) We have said that the opacity of signifiers means that language does not reveal a reality or truth behind them. something indeterminate. Buffalo University. Language does not reveal truth of the Real.

that what counts is never the plurality of opinions regulated by a common norm. the pure phenomenon of the taking-place. In order to liven things up a bit. even of the deep essence of things. The supposed existence of a generic faculty for the discernment of evil means that. but the plurality of instances of politics [des politiques] which have no common norm. the matrix of ‘political’ judgment is ultimately invariable. LACAN AND THE POLITICAL: THINKING THE POLITICS. one will reject the expression ‘the political’. Real Politick masks the lack. which precisely suggests a specific faculty. University of Essex. But how can we ground this imminence transcendentally. or the singular. it was thought possible to acquire an objective representation or symbolization of reality. Phenomenal particularity is only the material for a judgment whose maxim is fixed and which would take the following form: ‘Always declare yourself in favor of the persistence of the share of the in-common. one shall say of course that evil is always impending. First. Fellow. You surrender your real political subjectivity when you capitulate to this manipulation. attempting to hide this lack through the symbolic and imaginary means at its disposal. judgments and practices . we must maintain that the inception of a politics . In order to hold firm to the particular. at the same time. But in my view she brings about a gradual transcendental reduction in this particularity. 2006. for her. ( ).is always located in the absolute singularity of an event. Second.of its statements. The Affirmatives use the threat of “real world” impacts to convince you to make an ultimately meaningless decision. 54) At first it is indeed possible to confuse the anti-objectivist dimension of Lacanian theory with the standard social constructionist argumentation recently in vogue. 1999. prescriptions. Social constructionism is also articulated on the basis of the critique of objectivist and essentialist conceptions of reality. If. since the subjects they induce are different. a ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 65 . that is to say. perpetuating psychopolitical ego-formation. show that this reality is always the result of a process of social construction. An objective representation of “reality” is impossible. Incidentally. Against ‘Political Philosophy’. What we accept as (objective) reality is nothing but a social construction with limited duration. Stavrakakis 99 (Yannis Stavrakakis. Without the menace of radical evil. Reality is lacking and. METAPOLITICS. politics doesn't even have reason to exist.’ This explains why her vision of politics is in the last resort conservative. Badiou 06 (Alain Badiou. a depository of identity.Vincennes at Saint-Denis. that a politics only exists within a sequence. other than through some sinful tendency of human nature vis-à-vis the in-common? One sees here the fundamental reason why it is so important for these conceptions to maintain that ‘the Beast is always lurking’. Professor of Philosophy. Revault d'Allonnes is right to highlight the particular. to the extent that what the event is ‘capable’ of is deployed in an act of truth Finally. and so on. Lacan suggests that social reality is not a stable referent. 22) 2. we must set out on an entirely different path. Université de Paris . the historical and social relativity of human representations of reality. judgment is not absolutely requisite. Without this everlasting latency of the Beast. Reality is always constructed at the level of meaning and discourse. but a semblance created by the play of symbolization and fantasmatic coherence. that it stirs in each of us.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K AT: Realism/Case Outweighs ( ). in the past. constructionism argues that the failure of all these attempts.

is thus the paradox of a 'pathological a priori'. on the contrary. subjective perception is a distorted. Lacan (dialectical materialism) accepts idealism's basic ontological premiss (the transcendental subjective constitution of 'objective reality'). are still a part of the process which generated it (we need only recall a scene from Shoah in which Polish peasants from a village near the concentration camp. interviewed now. the reason for this impossibility of representing the Holocaust is not simply that it is 'too traumatic. however. objet petit a is not only the 'objective factor of subjectivization' but also the very opposite. continue to find Jews 'strange. Therein lies the unsurmountable divide that forever separates dialectical materialism from discursive idealism. At the level of gaze. 'independently' of the subject. To put it more paradoxically. the objectal correlate of the subject). There are only plural instances of politics. 'objective' reality itself is constituted through the subjective act of transcendental synthesis. the trauma qua real is not the ultimate external referent of the symbolic process. subject itself in its 'impossible' objectality. idealism claims. but precisely that X which forever hinders any neutral representation of external referential reality. 'pathologically' biased. as well as from non-dialectical ('vulgar') materialism: for the latter. The Plague of Fantasies. but. as it were. and supplements it with the premiss that this very act of ontological positing of 'objective reality' is always-already 'stained'. Realism Turn ( ). that we. in other words.' — that is. Objective views of reality ‘stain’ the subjects ontology. that the In-itself of 'objective reality' is definitely to be distinguished from mere subjective representations — its point is only that it is the synthetic act of the transcendental subject itself which transforms the multitude of representations into 'objective reality'. but that the 'objective' In-itself. the object which 'pathologizes' the subject's gaze or approach. it is the object which accounts for the failure of every neutral-objective representation. exists outside. repeat the very ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 66 . surviving witnesses. observing subjects. empirically reproducing the holocaust Zizek 97 (Slavoj Zizek.ments. rather. eluding our gazes which can perceive only delusive appearances. makes it biased. the Real qua traumatic antagonism is. objet petit a. The true point of idealism is not the solipsistic one ('there is no objective reality.' but. 'tainted' by a particular object which confers upon the subject's 'universal' view of reality a particular 'pathological' twist.pg 214-215) Against the criticism that the Lacanian Real continues to function as the ultimate referent which fixes/limits the play of signifying displace. and which do not comprise any homogeneous history. Claude Lanzmann's film Shoah alludes to the trauma of the Holocaust as something beyond representation (it can be discerned only via its traces. This particular object. sustains constitutive transcendental universality itself. is posited by the subject. remaining monuments). irreducible to one another. one should thus insist on the distinction between the Real and (objective) reality — to put it succinctly. ontologi-cally fully constituted. 'reflection' of 'objective' reality which. in its very opposition to subjective representations. In short. Doctor of Philosophy. idealism's point is not that there is no Initself. the very stain or spot which disturbs and blurs our 'direct' perception of reality — which 'bends' the direct straight line from our eyes to the perceived object. precisely as radically 'subjective' (objet petit a is. merely our subjective representations of it'). 1997. Let us clarify this key point apropos of trauma as the Real. the objective factor of subjectivization itself. in our present time. University of Ljubljana. in a way. for transcendental idealism. pulls it askew. rather. are still involved in it. of a particular object which.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K common sense. the Real is not so much the invisible Beyond. the 'subjective factor of objectivization'.

that I am merely fulfilling the Other's Will . it's his Duty to the Progress of Humanity . through opening up in it the gap of indeterminacy filled in by my act. although Kant's 'Du kannst..'. The standard motto of ethical rigour is 'There is no excuse for not accomplishing one's duty!'. The fact that the Subject is a Universal Being means that. There is no moral law. he implicitly complements it with its much more uncanny inversion: 'There is no excuse for accomplish. denn du sollst! [You can. 1997." The full acceptance of this paradox also compels us to reject any reference to 'duty' as an excuse: 'I know this is difficult. but also the 'negative' power of disrupting each particular content. it's not me who is effectively doing it. Doctor of Philosophy.. ‘obligation’ is capitulation to remain dominated Zizek 97 (Slavoj Zizek. What we encounter here is the properly perverse attitude of adopting the position of the pure instrument of the big Other's Will: it's not my responsibility.. because you must!]' seems to offer a new version of this motto. he definitely endorses the need to break out of the constraints of particular identity.ing one's duty!"3 The reference to duty as the excuse for doing our duty should be rejected as hypocritical. his heart is breaking while he is doing it. The more pertinent example is that of a Stalinist politician who loves mankind. Subjectivity and universality are thus strictly correlative: the dimension of universality becomes 'for itself' only through the 'individualist' negation of the particular context which forms the subject's specific background. The Plague of Fantasies.. but what can I do? It's my duty!'.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K logic that brought the Holocaust about).ity is not only the abstract content common to all particular cases. he cannot simply rely on some determinate substantial content ('universal' as it may be) which would fix the co-ordinates of his ethical activity in advance. his excuse to himself (and to others) is: `I myself find it hard to exert such pressure on the poor kids. but none the less carries out horrible purges and executions. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 67 . apropos of every determinate norm. and might be painful.. but he cannot help it.. this is what Korman ethics prohibits.. precisely..pg 221-223) That is also the actual thrust of Hegel's critique of Kant: Hegel is not a contextual traditionalist who claims that I must 'irrationally' accept the particular content of my ethical community. but that the only way for him to arrive at Universality is to accept the objective indeterminacy of his situation — I become 'universal' only through the violent effort of disengaging myself from the particularity of my situation: through conceiving this situation as contingent and limiting. ‘duty’ is an excuse. What Hegel effectively rejects is merely the notion of categorical imperative as the abstract testing device which enables me to establish. AT: ‘Obligation’ ( ). University of Ljubljana. Or — to put it more precisely — what Hegel draws attention to is the fact that actual Universal.. The obscene jouissance of this situation is generated by the fact that I conceive of myself as exculpated from what I am doing: isn't it nice to be able to inflict pain on others in the full awareness that I'm not responsible for it.. I am merely an instniment of the higher Historical Necessity . but what can I do? It's my duty . we need only recall the proverbial example of a severe sadistic teacher who subjects his pupils to merciless discipline and torture — of course. if it is my duty to follow it or not: Hegel's implicit point is precisely that there is no universal moral Law which would free me of the responsibility for its determinate content.

externally imposed necessity? By subjectively assuming this `objective necessity' . May ’68. it is because the superegoic evasion or recoil from anxiety retains so much influence over thought. Critiquing the familiar Freudian myth of the murder of the primordial father by sons who try to atone for their crime by reinstating him in an idealized form (as all-loving and loved by all). From this sentiment to that of being weighed down by an inexpiable debt is a short step. the alternative gives a way to escape from originary anxiety Copjec 06 (Joan Copjec. in the modern world. So to Recap – originary anxiety is alleviated by the Alt (breaking down the fantasy) and moral anxiety we are freed from through FW. and prepares the way for an alternative escape from the latter. University of Buffalo. Why should our admittedly infrangible attachment to that which precedes us and drenches our enjoyment in its indelible colours be characterized as a guilty one? There is no good reason for it.by finding enjoyment in what is imposed on him." AT ‘Obligation’ ( ). but if the equation of the past with guilt and debt is endemic to modern thought. Lacan disentangles guilt from originary anxiety. That Levinas makes the error of too quickly conflating the experience of being riveted with experiences of culpability and debt proves nothing so much as the effectiveness of the superego. **Note: You Should argue this in the sense that oringary anxiety is a fantasy contructed upon the idea that human beings have some hidden inate obligation (which we don’t) and that moral anxiety is the system of ethics – neither is necessary under our FW of rejecting ‘ethics’. the Emotional Month. because obviously anxiety kills enjoyment…*** ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 68 . This connection is suggested in relation to a specific characterization of anxiety or being riveted as the feeling of being burdened by a 'non-remittable obligation'. Lacan: the silent partners. Directory of the Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Culture. up to and including Freud's. 2006) We were pursuing hints in Levinas's text that the sentiment of being riveted was connected to the question of race. and all those forms of identity which are ours by virtue of birth rather than choice. of guilt.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K This position of the sadist pervert provides the answer to the question: How can the subject be guilty when he merely realizes an 'objective'. Your feelings of ‘obligation’ to the Other conflates originary and moral anxiety. but to take it without being aware of the distance traversed leads to the inappropriate conflation of originary and moral anxiety. This Arg works better under the Strat to run the ‘kills enjoyment’ impact.

This is obviously a potential danger.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K AT: Robinson Tournmeny Their theory relies on a conflation of the political and the contingent nature of politics -. but only a more abstract ontology. would require a theory transcending all regions and thus capable of delimiting the specifically political region—again not a feasible alternative from a post-structuralist viewpoint.2004.November http://www. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 69 . the political as the moment of the contingent institution of politics and the social. we can use the political as a principle of analysing politics. even if in some places more than others. The British Journal of Politics & International Relations Volume 6 Issue 4 Page 558 .com/doi/full/10. since Lacan did not provide a specific theory of politics. This would assume a regional conception of politics: politics as determined as a particular region with particular (essential) limits and requiring a theory only applicable to this region. Department of Government. Since the political understood as contingency permeates politics. the theorists considered by Robinson.1111/j. on the one hand. all the political appropriations of Lacan can do is to subsume politics to pregiven Lacanian categories (p. that they have introduced a distinction between. in turn. but instead refers to a logic permeating society in its entirety. One must insist that analytical categories are always rearticulated when applied.Lacan’s focus on ontology does not preclude the use of lack in an analysis of politics – the alternative doesn’t make contingency impossible but contingency does make the alternative impossible Thomassen 04 (Lasse. as Wittgenstein has shown.00157. and one that must be avoided. among others. But this does not preclude the theorisation of politics through categories that were not originally thought to apply (directly or indirectly) to politics. This. The political cannot be reduced to a specific region. there is no application that leaves intact the rule being applied. It is the merit of. politics as the region of practices usually referred to as politics and. on the other hand.x?cookieSet=1) Robinson believes that. University of Essex. 261).blackwellsynergy. This is one of the contributions of post-structuralist (including Lacanian) political theory.1467-856X.

The British Journal of Politics & International Relations Volume 6 Issue 4 Page 558 .1467-856X. post-structuralist political theory is not the place to look. 'as a Lacanian. Nothing in the post-structuralist (and Lacanian) view thus precludes a progressive politics.. Mouffe cannot reject exclusion. the post-structuralist (and Lacanian) view does not necessarily preclude the removal of any concrete exclusion. Robinson writes. And. This. Again. on a certain level. he writes that.1111/j. 260). the constitutivity of exclusion and violence does not necessarily mean that 'the new world cannot be better than the old' (p. Such assertions are only possible if we believe in the possibility of opposing exclusion to a situation of non-exclusion. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 70 . University of Essex. Lacanian politics is therefore about coming to terms with violence. exclusion and antagonism.November http://www.x?cookieSet=1) According to Robinson. Moreover. this is not to say that a progressive politics is guaranteed—if one wants guarantees. 'Lacanians'. not about resolving or removing these' (p. Lacanian political theory is inherently conservative. the acknowledgement of the constitutivity of exclusion shifts the focus from exclusion versus non-exclusion to the question of which exclusions we can and want to live with. 263). and the impossibility of a perfect society does not exclude attempts at improvement—with the proviso that what counts as improvement cannot be established according to some transcendental yardstick. 'reflects an underlying conservatism apparent in even the most radicalseeming versions of Lacanianism' (p. 268). 268). 267). Of course. [Žižekek's] Lacanian revolutionism must stop short of the claim that a better world can be constructed' (p. about Mouffe.. The alternative to guaranteed progress is not necessarily conservatism or nihilism. On the contrary. Department of Government.com/doi/full/10.00157. 'urge that one reconcile oneself to the inevitability of lack.2004. according to Robinson. which is exactly what post-structuralists have challenged. There are similar problems with Robinson's characterisation of Žižekek's 'nihilistic variety of Lacanianism': 'the basic structure of existence is unchangeable . it is. necessary according to such a theory' (p.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K AT: Robinson Tournmeny Robinson misreads the role of violence in Zizek’s theory – even if it’s part of the revolution it is not a defining feature of a transcendent society Thomassen 04 (Lasse.blackwellsynergy.

MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K

AT: Robinson Tournmeny
( ). Robinson’s ideology partakes in a tautology of its own – their demand for rational morality succumbs to systems of domination they do not criticize Thomassen 04 (Lasse, Department of Government, University of Essex, The British Journal of Politics & International Relations Volume 6 Issue 4 Page 558 - November http://www.blackwellsynergy.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1467-856X.2004.00157.x?cookieSet=1)
Drawing from Louis Althusser’s theory of ideological interpellation, Zizek asks how the effect of belief in a cause arises, how, in other words, a subject comes to recognize as hailed by an ideological institution (such as the state in the form of the policeman saying, “hey, you!” or God’s call as made manifest through the practices, texts, and institutions of the church). The subject may go about specific activities related to a cause, but why does the subject recognize this particular cause as his own? Why does he respond to the hail? Why is it he who is hailed, addressed, called? Zizek’s surprising answer is not that the subject has a preexisting good reason for responding, not that the cause in some way corresponds to the subject’s deep or true interests. Rather, the subject responds to a certain irrational injunction, that is, to

the very fact of the groundless command. We might think here of the word of God, binding because it is God’s word or of the fundamental authority of law as grounded in the fact that it is law. In each case, if we point to something beyond God or law as the grounds for their authority, we are positing something higher, something by which to judge God or law, say reason or morality. And, if we then say that reason or morality is the ultimate authority, we get stuck in the same tautology: reason authorizes because it is reasonable; morality authorizes because it is moral. Zizek conceives of this tautology as an object, a sticking point, a residue of irrationality that serves as the very condition for the subject’s submission to the ideological hail (objet petit a). Hence, he offers the following wordplay: jouis-sense, enjoyment-in-sense (enjoy-meant) to capture the conjunction of the meaning offered by ideology with its ultimate core of meaninglessness or, irrational enjoyment.17 Thus, unlike Foucault, Zizek emphasizes the subjectivization of the practices constitutive of belief: belief in an ideological cause results from an excessive, traumatic kernel that resists symbolization or incorporation into a signifying economy. The excess of the subject with respect to its practices, then, is not
the result of a multiplicity of competing hails (although this is not excluded). Instead, it is more fundamental: the subject is the very failure of interpellation/symbolization, an absence that is marked (embodied/positivized) by the irrational injunction.18

~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 71

MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K

AT: Gibson Gram
( ). Psychoanalysis solves Gibson’s argument – we proved a space for individuals to have an interaction with the real Daly 04 (Glyn, Lecturer of International Studies, University College of Northampton “Slavoj Zizek: Risking the Impossible, http://www.lacan.com/zizek-primer.htm)
Zizek's thought is concerned crucially to reactivate the dimension of the miraculous in political endeavour. For Zizek the miracle is that which coincides with trauma in the sense that it involves a fundamental moment of symbolic disintegration (2001b: 86). This is the mark of the act: a basic rupture in the weave of reality that opens up new possibilities and creates the space for a reconfiguration of reality itself. Like the miracle, the act is ultimately unsustainable - it cannot be reduced to, or incorporated directly within, the symbolic order. Yet it

is through the act that we touch (and are touched by) the Real in such a way that the bonds of our symbolic universe are broken and that an alternative construction is enabled; reality is transformed in a Real sense. The Real is not simply a force of negation against which we are helpless. In contrast to standard criticisms, what psychoanalysis demonstrates is that we are not victims of either unconscious motives or an infrastructural logic of the Real. If reality is a constitutive distortion then the ultimate lesson of psychoanalysis is that we are responsible for its reproduction. Miracles can and do happen. We are capable of Real acts that give reality a new texture and direction; acts that reflect this gap in the order of Being, this abyss of freedom. If Freud
- in his theory of the unconscious - affirms an essential autonomization of the signifier, then what Zizek emphasises is an essential autonomization of the act: a basic capacity to break out of existing structures/cycles of signification. Far from being constrained by the notion of impossibility, Zizek's perspective is sustained and energised by the ontological potential for achieving the "impossible" through Real intervention. In this sense, Zizek's conception of the Real may be said to constitute both an inherent limit and an inherent opening/beginning: the radically negative dimension that is the condition of creatio ex nihilo and the political itself.

~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 72

MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K

AT ‘Badious Ethics ARE Ethics’
( ). No, Badiou ethics are a type of shame as opposed to your guilt. Shame is perferrable to guilt; guilt is like the incredible hulk – tearing down walls to get into a room. Shame puts ourselves in the room allowing us to creatively change the world. Copjec 06 (Joan Copjec, Directory of the Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Culture, University of Buffalo, Lacan: the silent partners; May ’68, the Emotional Month, 2006) It is only against this background that Lacan's call to shame makes any sense. His is a recommendation not for a renewed prudishness but, on the contrary, for relinquishing our satisfaction with a sham jouissance in favour of the real thing. The real thing — jouissance — can never be ‘identified', controlled, regimented; rather, it catches us by surprise, like a sudden, uncontrollable blush on the cheek. It is not possible here, in this brief conclusion, to do it justice to the concept of shame, as I am doing elsewhere. I do not want, however, to end quite so abruptly as Lacan ends his seminar, so I will say a few lo ore words — only.Alain Badiou has identified a dominant trait of the last century as its ' passion for the Real', its frenzied desire to remove every barrier that frustrates our contact with the Real. If this has a familiar ring, it is because a similar diagnosis was proffered by Nietzsche, who complained that our age was one in which we sought to 'see through everything'. Nietzsche further characterized this passion as a lack of reverence or discretion, a tactless desire to touch, lick, and finger everything'.35 The passion for the Real treats every surface as an exterior to be penetrated, a barrier to be transgressed, or a veil to be removed. The violence of this passion insists in each penetration, transgression, and in removal, which is only exacerbated by the fact that each arrives on the other side, only to find that the Real has fled behind another harrier. It is hard not to recognize in this the logic subtending the University Discourse as Lacan presents it in Seminar XVII. Nor is it difficult to see, in this context, that the antidote of shame which Lacan proposes also follows Nietzsche's leads, in addition to Freud's. Shame is, as Freud put it, a 'mental dam' against the 'aggressive instinct' or the destructive passion for the Real.' Unlike guilt, shame does not seek to penetrate surfaces or tear away veils; rather, it seeks comfort in them, hides itself in them as in a safe haven. Our relationships to the surface change in shame, as compared to guilt; we become fascinated with its maze-like intricacies, its richness and profundity This is where Lacan's hontology, his suturing of ontology and shame, comes in, as if in answer to Levinas. Shame is not a failed flight from being, but a flight into being, where being — the being of surfaces, of social existence — is viewed as that which protects us from the ravages of anxiety, which risk drowning us in its borderless enigma. Unlike the flight or transformation of guilt, however, shame does not sacrifice jouissance's opacity, which is finally what 'keeps it real'. True jouissance never reveals itself to us, it remains ever veiled. But instead of inhibiting us, this opacity now gives us that distance from ourselves and our world that allows us creatively to alter both; it gives us, in other words, a privacy, an interiority unbreachable even by ourselves.

~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 73

in other words. the historical modes of politics as revolutionary. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 74 . or. Internalizing political prescription allows us to maintain subjectivity within the process. Université de Paris. METAPOLITICS. its vocation to prescribe a possible) are accessible here both through the exterior unity of a category (such as ‘historical mode of politics’ or 'specification of the factory'). and through the 'material' determination of their places. the different occurrences of the figure of the worker) one is persuaded of the existence of a free access of thought to the material sequences of its own freedom. notably. classist. Badiou 06 (Alain Badiou.e.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K AT AFF Badiou Indicts ( ). again. Bolshevik or dialectical. those which hold firm to the prescription. singularities in interiority (those which do not abandon subjectivity. which are akin to the assured inscription of their pre scriptive nature. granting access to the material sequence necessary for emancipation. 41) These fundamental results reveal the prolific intellectual framework set up by Sylvain Lazarus. 2006. Professor of Philosophy. The most precious singularities for asserting the freedom of thought (i. Politics as Thought: The Work of Sylvain Lazarus. When we have thus conceptualized. which in turn refers to a multiple of singularities.

1999. and that transformative and emancipative political projects can never hope to transform the whole of society--there will always be something that eludes them. that there is no natural or essential commonality that holds society together.. would mean recognizing this irreducible void in the social--the void that jeopardizes and dislocates any political symbolization." (Stavrakakis.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Can’t Understand Domination w/o Lack ( ). Indeed. in other words. p 51). again and again. Psychoanalysis. It would mean acknowledging the contingency and undecidability of politics. and were attempts to conceal or "patch up" the very lack in the social itself--the lack that was irreducible and indeed. affirm is that there is no dialectical process or underlying social logic that determines the political--that the political is always radically ungrounded. what radical politics must acknowledge and. postdoctoral fellow and lecturer at the University of Western Australia. is an impossible object that can never be grasped in this way. are part of. indeed. 1990. suggesting that instead "the politics of today is the politics of aporia. Stavrakakis here talks about the crisis of the utopian project. Lack politics are essential to understand social relationships and the flow of domination Newman 04(Saul. the same lack that utopian fantasy attempts to mask . even revolutionary ones. p 166). December v9 i3 p298 page infotrac) But what does this mean for anarchism and emancipative politics generally? Simply. that it must abandon the fantasy of utopian fullness and recognize that the other is lacking. Lacanian political theory is based around a fundamental impossibility or lack: "Lacanian political theory aims at bringing to the fore. the lack in the Other. Traversing the fantasy in the political sense. institutional and discursive structures themselves (Copjec. then. indeterminate and contingent. 1999." (Stavrakakis. but rather would operate within the discursive limits of the institution itself--according to the Lacanian realization that all social practices. as Stavrakakis argues. including anarchism. and indeed dependent upon. Society. This would mean. constitutive of the political itself. Culture & Society. Identifying Abject Subject bad ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 75 . p 99) Utopian political projects.. that any kind of radical political critique of institutions and social practices could not be from the perspective of some sort of essentialist subjectivity or social order that institutions are seen to impose themselves upon. moreover. In other words. were based on the fantasy of a society without dislocation and antagonism.

“Because it is excluded as a possible object. in contrast to a simple criminal violation. Montazeri represents the “abject” not only because he was dejected from the hierocracy—i. always already) sacred” (1982:65).” Kristeva argues. As Julia Kristeva (1982) points out. as abjection. The “Real” in Resistance: Transgression of Law as Ethical Act. or was compelled to accomplish. the purifying rite that abjected Montazeri simultaneously exalted him to an even more “sacred” position. but unleashed through a circular tautology ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 76 . his exclusion from the hierocracy was imposed on him—but also because he was abjected—he wished it himself. Doctor of Anthropology.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K ( ). Ironically. to make his resistance and ethical stance clear. Community “Thing” The 1AC projection of a national norm only creates a community of antagonism. does not simply violate the legal norm. Attempts to Identify the abject subject creates a “sacred” position . The moral law does not follow the Good—it generates a new shape of what counts as ‘Good’” (2001:170).maintaining a symbolic system of ethics. he was able to position himself in a border context so that he could speak “truth” to power. “but drifts over to more ‘secondary’ form such as transgression of the law” (Kristeva 1982:17). asserted to be a non-object of desire. abominated as ab-ject. as Mary Douglas (1966) suggests.e. A Thing that cannot be contained. Resistance of the Real requires not going against the “good” it is about entirely reshaping the “good” Behi 08 (Kambiz Behi. “the ethical act proper is a transgression of the legal norm—a transgression which. through this act. Harvard University. pg 41-42) In the purification rite of Khomeni—his ousting of Montazeri as his heir— Montazeri was represented as abjected “defilement. but also because the abject brings into question and threatens the entire Symbolic order (Kristeva 1982:65). In the Kristevan conception. And this transgression of law is what Montazeri initially intended. The separation and identification of the subject for the Symbolic as abject is necessary not just because of the grotesqueness of the abject. “filth becomes defilement and founds on the henceforth released side of the ‘self and clean’ the order that is thus only (and therefore. 2008. As Žižek points out. Resistance of the Real persists as this act of exclusion. for it was only through resisting and transgressing the Symbolic that he could have maintained his ethical stance vis-à-vis the hierocracy.” whose exclusion from the hierocracy was necessary in order to “purify” the ruling circle of external elements. the abject himself wishes to be abjected because it is through abjection that he can exist at all. Montazeri’s abjection was the pinnacle of his ethical subjectivity because..

automatic association that arises here is of course that of the reactionary sentimental Blut und Boden. Note George Orwell's essays from the war years." It appears as what gives plenitude and vivacity to our life. 1 This relationship toward the Thing. and yet the only way we can determine it is by resorting to different versions of the same empty tautology. is what is at stake when we speak of the menace to our "way of life" presented by the Other: it is what is threatened when. stuffy imperialist version of it.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Zizek 93 (Slavoj Zizek. for example. Although the first." All we can do is enumerate disconnected fragments of the way our community organizes its feasts. All we can ultimately say about it is that the Thing is "itself. Duke University Press Durham 1993 “Tarrying with the negative” Zizek is a senior reasearcher at the institute for social sciences. nonetheless it is something constantly menaced by "them. a white Englishman is panicked because of the growing presence of "aliens. ‘class struggle’ is biased. He also has a beard. its rituals of mating. its initiation ceremonies. 2 Truth is Impossible ( ). It appears to us as "our Thing" (perhaps we could say cosa nostra). and writes a lot." "the real Thing. This Nation-Thing is determined by a series of contradictory properties. University of Ljubljana. Articulated truth is impossible." the others. we should not forget that such a reference to the "way of life" can also have a distinctive "leftist" connotation. so to speak. cannot grasp. His points of reference were precisely those details that characterize the "way of life" of the working class (the evening gathering in the local pub. displacing reality ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 77 ." What he wants to defend at any price is not reducible to the so called set of values that offer support to national identity. 200) The element which holds together a given community cannot be reduced to the point of symbolic identification: the bond linking together its members always implies a shared relationship toward a Thing. Slovenia." etc. structured by means of fantasies. National identification is by definition sustained by a relationship toward the Nation qua Thing. etc." "what it really is about. all the details by which is made visible the unique way a community organizes its enjoyment. toward Enjoyment incarnated. If we are asked how we can recognize the presence of this Thing. the only consistent answer is that the Thing is present in that elusive entity called "our way of life. as something accessible only to us. in short.). as something "they. in which he attempted to define the contours of an English patriotism opposed to the official.Pg.

from developing their autonomous identity). 'class struggle' is that on account of which every direct reference to universality (of 'humanity'.bility of realizing what is within those limits' . the very obstacle to this symbolization. .. yin against yang. they are all. the Real cannot be positively signified. University of Ljubljana. in the external figure of the Jew. not the transcendent Beyond which the signifying process tries to grasp in vain: in the case of real antagonism. then. precisely. far from being complementary. The Plague of Fantasies. as the inherent failure of symbolization: 'if what we are talking about are the limits of a signifying system. of 'our nation'.. . failed. is not the ultimate referent which anchors and limits the unending drift of the signifiers ('the ultimate meaning of all social phenomena is determined by their position in class struggle'). the stain which forever keeps the Real apart from the modes of its symbolization. fire against water. Solving ‘otherization’ Turn ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 78 . all antagonistic tension. but the very force of their constant displacement — that on account of which socio-ideological phenomena never mean what they seem/purport to mean — for example. And the Real cannot be signified not because it is outside. real (antagonism) is inherent to the symbolic (system of differences). external to the symbolic order. In what precise sense. external opposition is always internal.4 In this precise sense. its internal limit: the Real is the internal stumbling block on account of which the symbolic system can never 'become itself'. Crucial to the notion of the Real is this coincidence of the inaccessible X with the obstacle which makes it inaccessible — as in Heidegger. etc. dislocated with regard to its literal meaning. since we alwaysalready 'take sides'. To put it in a slightly speculative way: sexual difference is not some mysterious inaccessible X which can never be symbolized but. but have to show themselves as the interruption or breakdown of the process of signification'. Because of its absolute immanence to the symbolic. sexual difference is antagonistic in so far as the opposition between men and women. in so far as it underlies all other polarities and provides their 'deep' meaning (as in pre-modern sexual cosmologies: light against darkness. aims at signifying it.' Exactly the same goes for sexual difference qua real in Lacan: sexual difference is not the ultimate referent which posits a limit to the unending drift of symbolization. on the contrary . etc. This is also how the Real of antagonism ('class struggle') functions within the social field: antagonism.tity.). The fact that there is no 'neutral'.pg 216-217) Or — with respect to truth: the Real qua trauma is not the ultimate 'unspeakable' truth which the subject can approach only asymptotically. it can only be shown. reason against emotion. Doctor of Philosophy. a bone stuck in the throat of the speaking being which makes it impossible to 'tell everything'. truncates it from within (for example. . 'class struggle' means that there is no neutral metalanguage allowing us to grasp society as a given 'objective' totality. 'Class struggle' is the Marxist name for this basic 'operator of dislocation'. but that which makes every articulated symbolic truth forever `not-all'. always in a specific way. 'biased'. .5 Crucial here is Laclau's implicit reference to the Wittgensteinian opposition between signifying and showing: the real as impossible can be shown (rendered) only as the failure of the process which. but. achieve its self-identity. rather. as such.identity. it is clear that those limits cannot themselves be signified. the male principle against the female .MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Zizek 97 (Slavoj Zizek. again. in the last resort. in a negative gesture. This also allows us to conceive of the Fascist strategy as a desperate attempt to construct a purely differential hierarchical system of Society by condensing all negativity. but precisely because it is inherent to it. the antagonistic opposition of B to A prevents A from realizing its full self. that which 'skews' the discursive universe.) is. prevents women from achieving their iden. 'objective' concept of class struggle is thus the crucial constituent of this notion. 1997. who emphasizes again and again how Being is not simply 'withdrawn': Being 'is' nothing but its own withdrawal. preventing us from grounding its formations in 'hard reality' — that on account of which every symbolization of sexual difference is forever unstable and displaced with regard to itself. is the Real not the last vestige of the fixed unhistorical referent? Let us quote Ernesto Laclau's concise formulation: 'the limits of signification can only announce themselves as the impossi. .

Absolute subjectivity is thus simultaneously that which ignores radical Evil. in his Lectures on Aesthetics. where he comments on the fact that 'evil’ in the abstract has no truth in itself and is of no interest': ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 79 . based on their belief in the fundamental goodness and rationality of humankind. they themselves unleash the powerful force of an unheard-of destructiveness (like the Terror of the French Revolution). 1997.ness. rather. of course. the highest egotistical denial of the subject's dependence on an irreducible Other. Zizek 97 (Slavoj Zizek. is to assert the ultimate (speculative) identity of the two approaches: the Otherness of Evil which eludes the grasp of the subject is not an In-itself. Doctor of Philosophy. The Plague of Fantasies. not only fail to take into account the essential frailty and meanness of human nature. Hegel himself seems to tend in this direction — not so much in his famous remarks on the revolutionary Terror in Phenomenology but. University of Ljubljana. Attempts to solve claims of “otherness” imposes a world view that fails and ultimately leads to destruction. as conservative criticism of revolutionary attempts tries to convince us? The revolutionary attempts which endeavour to impose on the world their vision. its own excessive founding gesture.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K ( ). and that which is itself the highest Evil — that is.pg 234) The Hegelian solution to this aporia. And is not the ultimate example of this simultaneity the fate of political subjectivity. but the very kernel of the subject's own absolute negativity.

It therefore eliminates the element of unconditional attachment to an unattainable Thing or Real. and. is the interpretation: as long as they are reconceived as expressions of constitutive lack. 'repetitive' and 'perverse' because it lacks the 'properly political' attitude of 'Us against Them'20. however. an element which is the core of humanity21. University of Nottingham “The Political Theory of Constitutive Lack: A Critique”. What is at stake in the division between these two trends in Lacanian political theory is akin to the distinction Vaneigem draws between "active" and "passive" nihilism30.. which maintains awareness The Žižekian version is committed to a more violent and passionate affirmation of negativity. this means that one must endorse exclusion and violence. this kind of stance leads to an acceptance of social exclusion which negates compassion for its victims. Their form of politics can be used to justify any atrocity. There must always be social exclusion. It is in this pragmatism that the ambiguity of Lacanian political theory resides. nothing is to limit the practical consideration of tactics by dominant elites. but one which ultimately changes very little. More recent examples of Žižek's pragmatism include that his alternative to the U. All that changes. offers an uncompromizing critique of the construction of guilt and innocence in anti-"crime" rhetoric. everything stays much the same. a process Žižek terms 'dotting the "i's"' in reality. Theory & Event) Žižek's anti-capitalism has won him friends in leftist circles. this is both a duty and an On a political level. democracy depends on 'the possibility of drawing a acceptance of necessity. It delivers what Žižek fears most: a 'pallid and anaemic.. It is also present. war in Afghanistan is only that 'the punishment of those responsible' should be done in a spirit of 'sad duty'. since Mouffe assumes a state to be necessary. Žižek claims that de Gaulle's "Act" succeeded by allowing him 'effectively to realize the necessary pragmatic measures' which others pursued unsuccessfully33.. in the toned-down exclusionism of authors such as Mouffe.. I think it's a useful antidote to all the aseptic. and this leads to a theory which renounces both effectiveness and political radicalism. recognizing and thereby installing necessity32. overall. however. it is so much the more so for his more moderate adversaries. therefore. 'By traversing the fantasy the subject accepts the void of his nonexistence'. he says. Lacanian theory tends. indeed. why not try a dose of it?'31. producing a historical event. The only change is in how one relates to the characteristics. a claim assumed – wrongly – to follow from the claim that social reality is constructed discursively).. and 'enemies of the people'24. 'boring'. awaits its resolution in a new form of Terror'. Thus. in other words. 'No state or political order. Professor of Politics. where 'today's "mad dance". not 'exhilarating retaliation'34. and 'always entails relations of inclusion-exclusion'28. It is. for instance. 'of course. for. As with Mouffe. demanding that demonization of deviants be abandoned. (The supposed necessity of the state is derived from the supposed need for a master-signifier or nodal point to stabilize identity and avoid psychosis. If this is the case for Žižek. only to insist as an afterthought that. question whether Žižek is attacking capitalism (as opposed to liberalism) at all. frontier between "us" and "them"'. the ultra-"radical" "Marxist-Leninist" Lacanian. Žižek's politics can be summed up in his attitude to neo-liberalism: 'If it works. psychopolitics fails to acknowledge compassion and re-entrenches opression Robinson 05 (Andrew. To rectify this situation. either for individuals or for societies). self-satisfied. it reinforces conformity by insisting on an institutional mediation which overcodes all the "articulations". can exist without some form of exclusion' experienced by its victims as coercion and violence29. Just like in the process of psychoanalytic cure. which is NATO control of the occupied territories35. this..S. nothing actually changes on the level of specific characteristics. the dynamic proliferation of multiple shifting identities. The resulting politics involves an 'ethical duty' to accomplish an Act which shatters the social edifice by undermining the fantasies which sustain it25. tolerant peaceful daily life'. its "alternative" is little different from what it condemns (the assumption apparently being that the "symbolic" change in the psychological coordinates of attachments in reality is directly effective. For all its radical pretensions. while on a theoretical level it is based on an almost sectarian "radicalism". denouncing everything that exists for its complicity in illusions and guilt for the present. frustrating. The resultant inhumanity finds its most extreme expression in Žižek's work. Jason Glynos. to produce an "anything goes" attitude to state action: because everything else is contingent.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Psychopolitics Bad (1/5) ( ). 'Horrible as it may sound. and his "solution" to the Palestine-Israel crisis. the old politics are acceptable. there is a need for suffocating Good to be destroyed by diabolical Evil22. One could. however. The phenomena which are denounced in Lacanian theory are invariably readmitted in its "small print". 'Why not violence?' he rhetorically asks. does not mean that their offences should go unpunished'36. The Laclauian trend involves an implied ironic distance from any specific project. politically correct pacifism'23. Hence. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 80 . His "capitalism" is a stultifying world of suffocating Good which is unbearable precisely because it lacks the dimension of violence and antagonism. of its contingency. The function of the Žižekian "Act" is to dissolve the self. "After the revolution". but the capitalism to which he objects is not the capitalism of classical Marxist critique.

social crisis and political rupture are constant characteristics of human experience’. putting the 'harsh reality' of antagonism behind a 'protective veil'8. University of Nottingham “The Political Theory of Constitutive Lack: A Critique”. and so on). Professor of Politics.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Psychopolitics Bad (2/5) ( ). strife and exclusion. It is this imperative which provides the starting-point for the kind of politicized Lacanianism with which this paper is concerned. after all. Therefore.. Chantal Mouffe. and the accusation against opponents is that they fall into some kind of fallacy (illusion. 'Lack ("castration") is original. that hides the struggle and antagonism behind the scenes'9. antagonism and the political). the primary element of social life is a negativity which prevents the emergence of any social "whole".g. There is already in Lacan (and Althusser) an imperative to embrace or accept the lack at the root of the social. Newman. Theory & Event) The concept of "constitutive lack" arises across a number of theories and under a number of labels (e. 'war is the reality'. the Thing. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 81 .. the focus of much adulation among the authors discussed here. For For Stavrakakis. Lacanian theory thus entails an ethical commitment to create conflict and antagonism. According to Stavrakakis. they agree on its desirability. that hides the struggle and antagonism behind the scenes'. the Real is 'inherent in human experience' and 'doesn't stop not being written'7. conflict. delusion. In Mouffe's words. While the various authors disagree about the means of achieving this. blindness. enjoyment constitutes itself as "stolen"'6. however. one finds a direct ethical advocacy of exclusion and conflict as almost goods in themselves. It emerged initially as an ontological concept in the work of Jacques Lacan. 'ineradicable' Instead of the imperative to overcome antagonism which one finds in forms as diverse as Marxian revolution and deliberative democracy. social relations are always irreducibly concerned with antagonism. the Real. The dimension of antagonism is. whereas 'society is the illusion.whether individual or social .is founded on a lack. 'personal trauma. writes of 'the primary reality of strife in social life'4. because they rule out the possibility of achieving substantial improvements (whether "reformist" or "revolutionary") in any area on which this fundamental negativity bears.. Hence. Lacanian political theory posits as the central political imperative a demand that one "accept" the underlying lack and the constitutive character of antagonism. This ethics mostly expresses itself via a detour into ontology: the ethical imperative is to 'accept' or 'grasp' the truth of the primacy of lack. The basic claim of Lacanian theory is that identity . for instance. while Slavoj Žižek seeks an 'ethics grounded in reference to the traumatic Real which resists symbolization'5. He explicitly states that the question of ethics 'is to be articulated from the point of view of the location of man in relation to the Real'3. Psychoanalysis in politics prevents progressive social movements and makes change and resistance to oppression impossible Robinson 05 (Andrew.. At other times. 'society is the illusion. failure to accept. Such claims have political consequences.

This article examines this paradigm through a critique of its founding concept. This is at least partly due to its radical pretensions. The title of Alenka Zupančič's most famous book – Ethics of the Real – summarises the outlook of all these authors. David Howarth. a theoretical placebo which does not live up to the promises it makes. a surrogate radicalism. I shall demonstrate that the idea of "constitutive lack" involves the reintroduction of myth and essentialism into political theory. there is a unity of purpose about the parameters of political theory. Professor of Politics. and certainly no basis for a radical or transformative agenda. a new paradigm is slowly becoming hegemonic. Basing politics on psychoanalysis has dangerous consequences—psychoanalytic politics paralyzes radical social resistance Robinson 05 (Andrew. It is. In contrast to the claims of authors such as Laclau to have escaped the "essentialism" of classical political theory. University of Nottingham “The Political Theory of Constitutive Lack: A Critique”. because its political effects are to paralyse "radical" theory. Across the work of authors such as Žižek. there is a central set of motifs and claims which mark out a distinct tradition within contemporary political thought. enough to raise its influence to a level second only. however. Aletta Norval and Saul Newman. It has almost invisibly gained a foothold in theoretical literature significant It is. I shall outline the parameters of this new theoretical paradigm. and its central arguments are analytically flawed. Jason Glynos. I shall demonstrate that Lacanian political theory cannot meet its claims to be "radical" and "anti-essentialist". often unconscious and unreflexive. crucial to challenge it. It provides a very weak basis for any kind of politics. Its paradigmatic structure . The idea of "constitutive lack". theorists are increasingly turning to the concept of "constitutive lack" to find a way out of the impasses of classical Marxist. Beneath the debates between rivals such as Ernesto Laclau and Slavoj Žižek. constructed as an ontological claim. It is accounting for a growing number of submitted and published articles and is gaining a growing support among researchers and graduates. The challenge posed by this influential perspective is too important to ignore.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Psychopolitics Bad (3/5) ( ). First of all. Chantal Mouffe. Theory & Event) Amongst a plethora of radical theoretical perspectives. perhaps. however. operates also in these theories as a normative concept. assumptions which unite its various proponents in a single way of thinking and arguing . Laclau. Inspired by the work of Jacques Lacan. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 82 . Yannis Stavrakakis.is becoming the dominant trend in (ostensibly) radical theory. in short. Renata Salecl. speculative and analytical approaches to political theory. and it is used to found normative claims.the shared. to the analytical/Rawlsian tradition.

we suggested this was due partly to his desire to keep open the ‘utopian space’ of social change.e. However. In his recent work. censors. Zizek does not have a great deal to say about what political forms should replace the liberal-democratic institutions he opposes. It is hard to see how any of these could be under workers’ control even in the limited sense of accountable use.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Psychopolitics Bad (4/5) Zizek’s politics justify state control. when he asserts very clearly that the role of an Act is to enable an agent to accomplish the present.ntlworld. not a liberating. one in the text and one in the footnote (RL 19. University of Nottingham. http://homepage. i. For him. there is nothing reactionary about rejecting ever-increasing intrusion by the social system into one’s life. and (sadly) weren’t afraid to ask Zizek”. 50). CCTV and scientific knowledge (DSST 256. PhD Candidate & Professor of Politics & Critical Theory. the appropriate response is not a right to privacy but an even more extensive socialisation of cyberspace (DSST 256). he identifies it with something akin to Lenin’s idea of control by soviets. “What is Not to be Done! Everything you wanted to know about Lenin.tormey/articles/Zizeklenin. let alone workers’ management. pragmatic tasks of governance more effectively. he has hinted at ideas such as ‘socialisation’. possibility: Zizek is giving the green light to eugenicists.pdf) Zizek is very circumspect about what changes he proposes. Internet censors and Lysenkoites . This is suggested by one instance in the paper “Repeating Lenin” where he uses the two terms as equivalents. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 83 . Gene patenting and CCTV should be eliminated. In “A Ticklish Subject”. or about the organisation of the economy. If our suspicions are right. It makes more sense to interpret Zizek’s concept of ‘socialisation’ as meaning ‘state control’. but in a somewhat ambiguous way. TS 356-7). he applies it to some very strange areas. In Revolution at the Gates. such as gene patenting.com/simon. cyberspace. ‘socialisation’ is a menacing. eugenics. not socialised. This reading is also suggested by his opposition to privacy and his embracing of ‘big brother’ control. This is clearest in his discussion of de Gaulle. and social intrusion result Robinson & Tormey 03 (Andrew & Simon. and the effects of ‘socialisation’ on science and the Internet would be liberating only if limited to the process of production and distribution. ‘socialisation’ by the big Other under the control of the master-signifier. but also partly to the fact that he does not in fact think that a great deal can be changed. Furthermore.

claims that attempts to find causes and thereby to solve problems are always fantasmatic137. how can one know they are not all of the latter type? And even if constitutive lack exists. The addition of an "always" to contemporary evils amounts to a "pessimism of the will". University of Nottingham “The Political Theory of Constitutive Lack: A Critique”. there are no standards for distinguishing the two.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Psychopolitics Bad (5/5) Psychopolitics is inherently conservative and reinforces the oppressive tendencies of the status quo – giving power to conservative and reactionary social forces Robinson 05 (Andrew. it creates a danger of discursive slippage and hostility to "utopianism" which could have conservative consequences. Lacanian theory runs a risk of "misdiagnoses" which have a neophobe or even reactionary effect. echoing the 'terrifying conservatism' Deleuze suggests is active in any reduction of history to negativity136. While this does not strictly entail the necessity of a conservative attitude to the possibility of any specific reform. Stavrakakis. Laclau and Mouffe's hostility to workers' councils and Žižek's insistence on the need for a state and a Party exemplify this neophobe tendency. Even if Lacanians believe in surplus/contingent as well as constitutive lack. Theory & Event) There is a danger of a stultifying conservatism arising from within Lacanian political theory. a Lacanian living in France in 1788 would probably conclude that democracy is a utopian fantasmatic ideal and would settle for a pragmatic reinterpretation of the ancién regime. while Žižek states that an object which is perceived as blocking something does nothing but materialize the already-operative constitutive lack138. or a "repressive reduction of thought to the present". If one cannot tell which social blockages result from constitutive lack and which are contingent. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 84 . for instance. one is left with a pragmatics of "containment" which involves a conservative de-problematization of the worst aspects of the status quo. Professor of Politics. To take an imagined example. The pervasive negativity and cynicism of Lacanian theory offers little basis for constructive activity. Instead of radical transformation. The inactivity it counsels would make its claims a self-fulfilling prophecy by acting as a barrier to transformative activity.

vol. Zizek will find no support in Marx for the idea of an eternal Master/Slave dialectic in which the psychological need for repression and antagonism provide the basis for class relations. Professor of Politics. Theory & Event) Thirdly. a subordination built into the physical structure of the world and backed by repression and naked force. Capitalist power does not emerge from the psychological submissiveness of workers in this account. it is established through a violent process of physical repression which produces a condition of real sublation. University of Nottingham “The Political Theory of Constitutive Lack: A Critique”. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 85 .MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Psychopolitcs Can’t Solve Cap ( ). in the process of putting down working class revolt (as in Surveys from Exile and other works)51 or any of the other myriad occasions when Marx describes the law of the ‘truncheon’. Rather violence emerges repeatedly in Marx’s work as the product of the exercise of ruling-class power whether that be exercised in the process of enclosing the land (Capital. Their Psychopolitics cannot overthrow capitalism Robinson 05 (Andrew. 1).

Enjoyment. falling in love can be agonizing. more fully present. as the petrified imago which interrupts the flow of life. 2005) Most simply. 05 (Jodi Dean. then. what reemerges in the "deathdrive" is ultimately life itself. Omni Shoreham. and useful. Washington Hilton. It eludes cost/benefit analyses and the weighing of pros and cons to acknowledge that on account of which or for the sake of which we do what seems irrational. i. Washington. jouissance.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K Generic AFF Defense Death Drive can be interpreted as a re-affirmation of life Zizek 93 (Slavoj Zizek. Sep 01. "sublated" (aufgehoben) in the symbolic medium. DC. and the fact that the ego perceives this as a death threat precisely confirms the ego's perverted "repressive return " character. Slovenia. destructive.” refers to an excessive pleasure and pain. an agony that makes us feel more alive. typically translated as “enjoyment. rational. Jouissance is good for life Dean. Yet. nonsymbolized raging. counterproductive. is this extra. We might think here of the difference between friendship and passionate love. measurable. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 86 . or in the form of symbolic mediation. ( ). than anything else. and dying for. to that extra-something that twists pleasure into a fascinating. University of Ljubljana. 177-178) In this sense. Boothby interprets the death-drive as the reemergence of what was ostracized when the ego constituted itself by way of imaginary identification: the return of the polymorphous impulses is experienced by the ego as a mortal threat. Whereas spending time with friends may be pleasurable.. it’s a special kind of agony. Marriott Wardman Park. this excess beyond the given. Duke University Press Durham 1993 “Tarrying with the negative” Zizek is a senior researcher at the institute for social sciences. The elegance of Boothby's theory turns on interpreting the death-drive as its very opposite: as the return of the life-force. of the part of Id excluded by the imposition of the petrified mask of the ego. The "death-drive" means that life itself rebels against the ego: the true representative of death is ego itself. "Enjoyment as a Category of Political Theory" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association. Pg. and writes a lot. The foreclosed Real thus returns in two modes: as a wild. more in tune with what makes life worth living. pointless. He also has a beard.e. since it actually entails the dissolution of its imaginary identity. even unbearable intensity. Thus. and even wrong.

which begins.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K AFF AT: Badiou ( ). no doubt. Hallward rightly sees in this philosophy of politics an ‘absolutist logic’ that leaves little space for multiple subjectivities. the sovereign subject. provides its own norm. For the axiom is more absolute than any definition. and condemns the sophist to a sort of exile. University of Essex. the Burmese. engenders its own objects as pure effects. of course. whose decision seems to be founded upon a nothing that commands the whole. Badiou’s quasi-absolutist orientation preserves the ghost of a subject without object. of confrontations and contradictions. Bensaid 04 (Daniel Bensaid. Badiou’s axiomatic conception of truth makes his alternative meaningless. 2004. could be amongst those arraigned before it. that members of its own armed forces. fearful. in suggesting that the discourse of human rights has come to provide a crucial ideological cover for economic and cultural imperialism. No one doubts the murderous hypocrisy with which the Western powers. 109) Badiou is not mistaken. It is represented only by itself. in desolate solitude. This is a return to a philosophy of majestic sovereignty. and perhaps of former administrations. THINK AGAIN ALAIN BADIOU AND THE FUTURE OF PHILOSOPHY. and the Palestinians. Professor of Philosophy. Beyond every proof or refutation. 105) In Badiou. But ‘human rights’ have also been a rallying call for many activists around the globe. led by the US. the logical resistance of Cavailles or Lautman. Emerging out of nothing. They were equally important tactically for Latin America’s struggle against the dictatorships. they inspire reform. shuns the democratic experience. as is well known. and continue to provide a vital political point of leverage for many indigenous populations. The United States. have invoked the language of human rights in recent years. nor to mention outright military intervention. the axiom. THINK AGAIN ALAIN BADIOU AND THE FUTURE OF PHILOSOPHY. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 87 . Dews 04 (Peter Dews. where the turmoil of public opinion ends. Badiou dismisses rights claims too quickly. figure here as instances of a commitment that evades all calculation and that is supposed to provide a paradoxical resolution for the absence of relation between truth and knowledge. In the form of the Helsinki Accords. ( ). nor to mention the Tibetans. Professor of Philosophy. University of Paris. Whence the worrying refusal of relations and alliances. they were a major focus for the East European opposition in the years leading up to 1989. fidelity to an event without a history and a politics without content has a tendency to turn into an axiomatics of resistance. like eventual truth. Badiou invariably prefers an absolute configuration over one that is relative: the absolute sovereignty of truth and the subject. Rimbaud’s logical revolt. continues to refuse recognition to the recently established International Criminal Court. empirically. 2004. in sovereign fashion.

The Will to Violence. For changing (as opposed to restricting) other people’s behaviour is beyond the range and influence of our own power. unemployment. their will not to abuse power and not to use A politics aiming at a change in people's behaviour would require political work that is very much more cumbersome and very much less promising of success than is the use of state power and social control. or the conditions which enable them to take place. It requires their will to change. Thus if German neo-Nazi youths and youth groups. we do not complicate the problem by any suggestion that is might be people who need to change.which cannot be imposed on others by force or compulsory educational measures. Kappeler 95 (Susanne Kappeler Assoc. A political analysis of violence needs to recognize this will. is also the locus of potential resistance to violence. putting limits on their violent behaviour. on the other hand. are the subjects able to take in hand the task of changing the circumstances. but above all to regard this decision as an act of choice. including our own. confirming that social problems will be taken seriously when and where ‘they’ attract attention by means of violence . ‘We’. For without this decision there will be no violent act.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K AFF -Moral Obligation Solves Violence ( ). which makes a person a perpetrator of violence -just as it is the decision not to do so which makes people not act violently and not abuse their power in a situation which would nevertheless permit it. at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Changing people. 4-5. violence. To understand the structures of thinking and the criteria by which such decisions are reached. Dresden etc. it nevertheless remains within ‘our’ scope.politicizing the way we think . It not only legitimates the violence (by ‘explaining’ it). It would require a view of people which takes seriously and reckons with their will. injustice etc. – may not be easy.. both their will to violence or their will to change. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 88 . is neither within our power nor. are treated to special youth projects and social care measures (to the tune of DM 20 million per year). at the centre of political reflection. not even m circumstances Which potentially permit it. at least theoretically and by means of state power. but also to capture the moment of decision which is the real impetus for violent action. it seems. not just the act itself.just as the most unruly children in schools (mostly boys) tend to get more attention from teachers than well-behaved and quiet children (mostly--girls). In particular. Even if changing the circumstances – combating poverty. seems to me a necessary precondition for any political struggle against violence and for a non-violent society. we turn the perpetrators of violence into the victims. AlAkhawayn University. This moment of decision. therefore. It is the decision to violate. To take seriously the will of others however would mean recognizing one's own. Rostock.and upper-class racism). on the other hand.) Besides being no explanation at all of why (white) poverty and unemployment should lead specifically to racist violence (and what would explain middle. who as victims by definition cannot act sensibly (but in changed circumstances will behave differently). Prof. ultimately in trips to Morocco and Israel. and putting people's will. it is more than questionable to combat poverty only (but precisely) when and where violence is exercised. the personal decision in favour of violence . We must develop a new means of decision making in which we establish a means of moral obligation to prevent turning the perpetrators of violence into the victims. Instead.not just to describe acts of violence. our interest: we prefer to keep certain people under control. Pp. only they themselves can change it. but we apparently have no interest in politics that presupposes people’s ability to change and aims at changing attitudes and behaviour. it is also because in this way we stay in command of the problem. this is an unmistakable signal to society that racist violence does indeed ‘pay off’. but constitutes an incentive to violence. It would require political consciousness-raising . including ‘educative If we nevertheless continue to explain violence by its ‘circumstances’ and attempt to counter it by changing these circumstances. since their murderous assaults on refugees and migrants in Hoyerswerda.

Jodi 2005. and the way that fantasy structures our enjoyment. Fantasy explains the incompleteness of society (that is. he concerns himself with the ways that ideological formations work as economies of jouissance to forbid. ("Enjoyment as a Category of Political Theory" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association. and command enjoyment. DC.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K AFF AT: Zizek Zizek’s dichotomy of the jouissance cannot lead to social change Dean. irrational enjoyment that accounts for the hold of an ideological edifice on the subject. one. ideology is more than a discursive formation that covers over the fundamental incompleteness and impossibility of society. I focus on the role of enjoyment in ideological interpellation. Likewise. 2005) Zizek’s reworking of the category of ideology extends the notion of enjoyment into the field of the political. direct. Washington Hilton. it accounts for the antagonism rupturing society) in a way promises and produces enjoyment. can do little in and of themselves to change society. Real substantive change has to confront (Zizek uses the Lacanian term ‘traverse’) ideology’s underlying fantasy. To this end. Omni Shoreham. Rather. Sep 01. the point of excessive. To set out Zizek’s notion of ideology in more detail. Washington. two. that is. what is crucial to an ideological formation is the underlying fantasy that supports it. Discourse analysis and ideology critique. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 89 . permit. He argues that an ideological formation is more than a set of different elements constituted as a set by virtue of a certain nodal point (such as the “empty signifier” in Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe’s theory of hegemony). then. Marriott Wardman Park.

two. he concerns himself with the ways that ideological formations work as economies of jouissance to forbid. Rather. Zizek’s dichotomy of the jouissance cannot lead to social change Dean 05 (Jodi. and the way that fantasy structures our enjoyment. To set out Zizek’s notion of ideology in more detail. Fantasy explains the incompleteness of society (that is. can do little in and of themselves to change society . irrational enjoyment that accounts for the hold of an ideological edifice on the subject. then. ideology is more than a discursive formation that covers over the fundamental incompleteness and impossibility of society. To this end. 2005) Zizek’s reworking of the category of ideology extends the notion of enjoyment into the field of the political. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 90 . direct.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K AFF AT: Zizek ( ). and command enjoyment. it accounts for the antagonism rupturing society) in a way promises and produces enjoyment. Omni Shoreham. Washington. the point of excessive. permit. DC. He argues that an ideological formation is more than a set of different elements constituted as a set by virtue of a certain nodal point (such as the “empty signifier” in Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe’s theory of hegemony). what is crucial to an ideological formation is the underlying fantasy that supports it. Real substantive change has to confront (Zizek uses the Lacanian term ‘traverse’) ideology’s underlying fantasy. Sep 01. that is. Likewise. one. Washington Hilton. I focus on the role of enjoyment in ideological interpellation. Discourse analysis and ideology critique. "Enjoyment as a Category of Political Theory" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association. Marriott Wardman Park.

Of course. among these competing kinds of claims on universalization. Zizek”. could not be subjected to a single lexicographical definition. But if various movements speak in the name of what is universally true for all humans. in part. Yet Laclau would probably agree that the articulation of universality does change over time and changes. that we bear towards one another. Both make certain kinds of `universal' claims.by which I mean that for which a formal and symbolizable formulation is possible . corporatist claims.then there can be no competing versions of universality. the problem is not to render the particular as representative of the universal. UC Berkeley. p 162-163. precisely by the kinds of claims that are made under its rubric which have not been understood as part of its purview. and there does not appear to be any easy way of adjudicating between these competing universalisms. by the Italian student movement against NATO. and another international consensus that certain forms of murderous injustice must be countered by the international community precisely by virtue of certain international obligations.their appeal to universalism justifies any politics and makes it impossible to determine which politics are emancipatory and which are oppressive Butler 2000 (Judith. by Noam Chomsky. which operated politically in the most recent Balkan war in a variety of competing ways. Professor of Rhetoric & Comparitive Lit. ed Butler. and not only do not agree on the substantive normative issue of what that good is. and make us mindful that no historical concept of the universal will work as a gauge for what does or does not belong within its terms.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K AFF AT . but to adjudicate among competing notions of universality. but also understand their relation to this postulated universal in semantically dissonant discourses. In these cases. Such claims expose the contingent limits of universalization. To do that would have been to miss the political salience of the category as it was invoked by Slobodan Milosevic. then it seems that one task for the contemporary intellectual is to find out how to navigate. I agree wholeheartedly with Laclau's account of Gramsci: `the only universality society can achieve is a hegemonic universality . despite nationality. more or less codified. and a discourse of universality which stipulates the kinds of claims that will be admitted into the process of democratization? We can see how the notion of `sovereignty ' . with a critical notion of translation at hand. and yet it functioned in an impassioned way as the Left split between interventionist and pacifist wings. I would suggest. if we treat universality as a purely logical category . 2000) Although the quotation above is offered as support for the centrality of the intellectual function in providing the necessary `articulation ' . Hegemony. “Contingency. Laclau.and hope to have shown in my first essay for this volume . indeed. given social movements are necessarily particularistic prior to the moment in which they articulate their own aims as the aims of the general community. one might understand some of the conflict to be between an international consensus that the sovereignty of nations is to be protected against incursion by foreign powers. Universality. But does it make sense to accept as a heuristic point of departure that the political field ought to be divided among those social sectors which make particular. Indeed.Universalism ( ). social movements may well constitute communities that operate with notions of universality which bear only a family resemblance to other discursive articulations of universality. It is unclear to me that given social sectors or. p. It was not used in the same way by each of these speakers. I offer it here to raise a different sort of question. 51). though .a universality contaminated by particularity ' (EL. Indeed. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 91 .that Hegel would wholeheartedly agree with this formulation as well. Any demand can be understood as universal .

that I'm a member of the community of believers. and writes a lot.this belief has a reflexive structure proper to the intersubjective space: "I believe in the (national) Thing" equals "I believe that others (members of my community) believe in the Thing. i.e. I do not need any external proof or confirmation of the truth of my belief: by the mere act of my belief in others' belief." etc. University of Ljubljana. there is "something more" in it." The tautological character of the Thing -. The structure is here the same as that of the Holy Spirit in Christianity. Pg. Members of a community who partake in a given "way of life" believe in their Thing. ~ We’re just a couple of Cerebral Ether Dwellers… 92 . Slovenia." The Thing is not directly a collection of these features. something that is present in these features. 200-201) It would. however. where -201. believing that I'm not alone. that appears through them. be erroneous simply to reduce the national Thing to the features composing a specific "way of life. He also has a beard. it is literally an effect of this belief in itself.is founded precisely in this paradoxical reflexive structure.its semantic void which limits what we can say about the Thing to "It is the real Thing.. the Holy Spirit is here. The national Thing exists as long as members of the community believe in it.MGW 2009 – K-Lab (Scotty and Richter FTW) Psychopolitics K AFF “Thing” good The ‘Thing’ is deeper than just a series of antagonisms but a system to inspire belief Zizek 93 (Slavoj Zizek. The Holy Spirit is the community of believers in which Christ lives after his death: to believe in Him equals believing in belief itself . Duke University Press Durham 1993 “Tarrying with the negative” Zizek is a senior reasearcher at the institute for social sciences. -.