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Living in the End Times Hardcover – May 25, 2010

3.5 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“The result is, as usual, a compendium of long passages of fierce brilliance ... Žižek is consistently penetrating.”—Steven Poole, Guardian

“Never ceases to dazzle.”—Brian Dillon, Daily Telegraph

“The thinker of choice for Europe’s young intellectual vanguard ... to witness Žižek in full flight is a wonderful and at times alarming experience, part philosophical tightrope-walk, part performance-art marathon, part intellectual roller-coaster ride.”—Sean O'Hagan, Observer

“Wide-ranging, often revelatory, frequently bewildering.”—Helen Brown, Daily Telegraph

“A giddying combination of exhilaration and perplexity, an addictive high-speed chase with bewildering changes in terrain that for the reader necessitate multiple gear shifts, sudden U-turns, three- and four-point turns, elegant loops and impossibly narrow angles to negotiate.”—Irish Left Review

“The most dangerous philosopher in the West.”—Adam Kirsch, The New Republic

About the Author

Slavoj Žižek is a Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic. He is a professor at the European Graduate School, International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck College, University of London, and a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. His books include Living in the End Times, First as Tragedy, Then as Farce, In Defense of Lost Causes, four volumes of the Essential Žižek, and many more.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; 4th Printing edition (May 25, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184467598X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844675982
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #440,248 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Clarissa's Blog VINE VOICE on June 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
If I had to recommend one contemporary philosopher for everybody to read, it would definitely be the great Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek. Oblivious of what his prissy colleagues in the academia might think, he gives equal space in his analysis to Husserl, Hegel, Hollywood and Heroes (an American TV series). I tend do disagree with many things that this passionate Marxist and devoted follower of Lacan says but his writing is so brilliant that each new book by him makes me jump for joy right in the bookstore. At over 400 pages long, Living in the End Times is Zizek's most important political statement so far in his fruitful intellectual career.

Zizek is the kind of philosopher who never stoops to triviality. He challenges every preconceived notion we might have. This is the reason why he mocks the concept of tolerance that enraptures liberals, ridicules the practice of recycling, criticizes Mahatma Gandhi as somebody whose struggle to protect the rights of the Untouchables ended up perpetuating the caste society, and ridicules the familiar trope that "globalization thratens local traditions and . . . flattens differences." Those who acquire an ironic distance from ideology and laugh at its tenets are - according to Zizek - most fully under the control of ideology. It is precisely Zizek's willingness to analyze critically every concept that others tend to hold as holy that has led him to be vituperated by pretty much every political group imaginable. If you want a book that will tell you things you already believe, Living in the End Times is not the kind of reading you will enjoy. If, however, you want to be forced to question and to think, Zizek is the philosopher for you.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There was a time when conservative intellectuals could engage their progressive brethren in a discussion on the interpretation of Marx and Freud. They would refer to the same canonical texts, raise abstruse points of doctrine, and discuss each other's perspectives in cross-references and detailed readings. Coming from the right or from the left of the political spectrum, they would meet on common ground and benefit on both sides from their intellectual exchange. In the French context, Raymond Aron, a conservative intellectual if there ever was one, would provide the best introduction to Marx for generations of students; and his disciple François Furet would give serious consideration to Marxist historiography of the French revolution as exemplified by Albert Soboul. In the US, Alan Bloom would confess that his education "began with Freud and ended with Plato," and he counted leftist intellectuals like Susan Sontag among his best friends.

One important condition for such meetings of minds was that politics be left at the door. Die-hard conservatives could engage leftist radicals on intellectual subtleties in Marx, Freud, and their epigones precisely because they excluded politics from their discussion. Of course, their debates were all about politics; but like good-mannered social guests, they conspicuously avoided the topic at the dinner table. If they did discuss politics, it was on a joking or self-depreciative mode. Of course, bourgeois counter-revolutionaries would be hanged and disemboweled when the proletariat avant-garde takes power. Naturally, leftist intellectuals were proto-terrorists on the loose who should be brought to justice and punished for their pernicious influence.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Despite being a fan of capitalism, I have also been a fan of Zizek, a very creative thinker indeed. Before reading this latest book of his, I would have meant only positive connotations with the word 'creative'. Now, however, I am beginning to think of his creativity as that of someone who looks at passing clouds and points out interesting shapes that you did not see there before. Yes, it is cool, yes it is ticklish, to be shown the contours of yet another ideological element. Show Zizek a Barney episode, and he will tell you how the dinosaur's colorful costume is meant to instill in children a blind celebration of capitalism, etc. But this shtick is bound to eventually get old. And it seems that with this book, that tide is starting. At some point, you expect the critic of a system to offer an alternative, or else just shut up and get on with it. Zizek, like all other rambunctious detractors of capitalism, does no such thing: neither telling us what he wants, nor shutting up. True, scattered throughout his books are some intimations of the idea that he wants us to create public spaces within but still outside capitalism. But he never develops this idea further, and quickly relapses into mining popular movies for fancy cloud shapes that reinforce the Freud-Lacan-Marxist preconceptions.

And a word on the title. It is misleading. There is very very little in the book about the implications of the latest economic crisis for capitalism as a system. Of course, it is a ripe topic, but strangely Zizek barely touches on it. Instead, you get a rehash or recasting of his observations from prior books. There are half a dozen or so cases where he literally repeats previously-served anecdotes and examples, barely paraphrased.
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