The Year of Dreaming Dangerously

Slavoj Zizek. Verso (Norton, dist.), $14.95 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-1-78168-042-1
Renegade philosopher and cultural critic Zizek (Living in the End Times) again attempts to goad us from our comfortable political positions and rethink the philosophical and social meaning of 2011’s major protest movements—including the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street. Drawing heavily on Marx and Hegel, Zizek probes the nature of these movements as they seek to fight the system of antagonistic capitalism without contributing to its enhanced functioning. For example, those involved in Occupy Wall Street, he observes, are “reacting to a system in the process of gradually destroying itself” as they wake “from a dream that has turned into a nightmare.” Similarly, despite the democratic elections forced by the Arab Spring, such protest movements have not flourished, and the cultural landscape is eerily bleak for the moment. Zizek argues that subterranean dissatisfaction still exists. We should view such movements as “limited, distorted (sometimes even perverted) fragments of a utopian future” whose greater potential flickers in and out of dormancy. Zizek’s staccato prose is often maddening as it jumps quickly from idea to idea, often repetitiously, without offering us a pause to ponder, but he’s as provocative as ever, forcing us to confront contentious matters head-on without flinching. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 07/30/2012
Release date: 10/01/2012
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