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Organs without Bodies: Deleuze and Consequences

2.8 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0415969215
ISBN-10: 0415969212
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Editorial Reviews

Review

With all his ususal humor and invention, Zizek-- the acknowledged master of the 180 degree turn -- here takes a trip into enemy territory to deliver Deleuze of a marvelously rebellious child, one that seriously challenges Deleuze's other progeny with a surprising but convincing bid for succession. Those who thought Deleuze's forward march into the future would follow a straight path are forced to rethink their stance. From now on all readings of Deleuze will have to take a detour through this important -- even necessary -- book.

About the Author

Slavoj Zizek is a researcher at the University of Ljubljana. He teaches and lectures frequently in the United States and in Europe. Among his books are Enjoy Your Symptom!, Opera's Second Death, and On Belief, as published by Routledge.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 217 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (October 26, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415969212
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415969215
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.5 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,529,908 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David on February 16, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Even if you like Zizek (which I do), this book is a disaster. Don't waste your time. I was hoping to see Slavoj sneek into "enemy" territory and offer some of his "rock-star of theory" antics about Deleuze since he mentions him so often in his other works -- usually referencing Coldness and Cruelty or The Logic of Sense, but this book is almost chemically-free of Delueze (a thinker of the first-rate whom I quite admire). The book is a hodge-podge of recylced writings (something Zizek is becoming quite comfortable with the more he writes). Deleuze is barely mentioned and often when he is Zizek is often simply wrong about his "take" on him. Most of the time Zizek is just spouting off (and it's not even the inspired kind of spouting that got him famous!) If you want to read something fun by Zizek read Enjoy Your Symptom or Looking Awry; if you want something more substantial read They Know Not What They Do, The Sublime Object of Ideology, or even The Ticklish Subject. If you want to learn about Deleuze read Deleuze: A Critical Reader, Gilles Deleuze by John Marks or Michael Hardt, for a more slanted but engaging encounter perhaps Badiou's Clamour of Being -- but better yet just try reading some of Deleuze's books: they are wonderful, and Dialogues or Pure Immanence are easy books to begin with. I couldn't agree more with the review Eric made below. Looking for Deleuze in this text is like trying to find grapes and nuts in grapenuts: tedious and an utter waste of time.
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Zizek's failed encounter with Deleuze will prove to haunt him since Deleuze and Guattari provded a framework to get outside of Lacan which Zizek still remains embedded in completely. I should say from the start, Zizek is absolutely brilliant, but his slip ups are all too numerous and his hasty publication of books have created an unendurable repetition of content. There are content problems with the book and style problems, as many of the previous reviewers have truthfully attested to. But even the 100 or so pages on Deleuze are wrought with references to movies and books (and sometimes the occasional refreshing joke), but all in all, the book probably amounts to 30-40 real pages of thorough critique. The problem is that Zizek prepares books by writing books, and in reading the most recent big work - "The Parallax View" (which Zizek calls his most important work), one sees that the books of the previous 4 years were a type of movement towards this.

First I how those interested in Zizek might go about critiquing Deleuze which is coupled with recommendations for Zizek's other works. After that I will recommend an alternative route to people interested in a crtique of Deleuze (outside of those made in other reviews - such as "Deleuze: A Critical Reader")

If you want to get an idea of how to critique Deleuze through Zizek, I recommend reading Lacan very closely, and critiquing Deleuze through Lacan. But if Lacan is intractable for you, Zizek is a helpful guide to realize Lacan's contributions. I would even hasten to add that if one is unfamiliar with Lacan, one cannot account for the weaknesses and strengths of a text like anti-oedipus (which has the capacity to perform the same reduction on lacan).
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Format: Paperback
"In the past decade, notes Zizek in his introduction to Organs Without Bodies, Deleuze emerged as the central reference of contemporary philosophy: notions like 'resisting multitude,' 'nomadic subjectivity,' the 'anti-Oedipal' critique of psychoanalysis, and so on are the common currency of today's academia--not to mention the fact that Deleuze more and more serves as the theoretical foundation of today's anti-globalist Left and its resistance to capitalism." The paradoxical result of such Deleuzianism is that "while masquerading as radical chic, [it] effectively transforms Deleuze into an ideologist of today's 'digital capitalism'."

For Zizek, "there is another Deleuze, much closer to psychoanalysis and Hegel, a Deleuze whose consequences are much more shattering." The proper Deleuze is that of the great early monographs, the key ones being Difference and Repetition and The Logic of Sense, as well as his later two-volume study on cinema. This series of works is to be distinguished from the books Deleuze and Guattari cowrote, A Thousand Plateaus, Anti-Oedipus and What Is Philosophy?, which dominate Deleuze's reception in English-speaking academe and present a sanitized, politically correct version of his philosophy. For Zizek, this political Deleuze is a fake, not least because of his rejection of Freud and Lacan: "What Deleuze presents as 'Oedipus' is a rather ridiculous simplification, if not an outright falsification, of Lacan's position." Deleuze and Guattari's criticism of fascism also "indulge in a true interpretive delirium of hasty generalizations".
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One wonders when reading this book whether Zizek is even making specific reference to Deleuze's work. He seems more to be writing from an idea he has in his head of Deleuzian's, Deleuze's followers. Having given Zizek a lot of attention in previous books, if only to have an understanding of what his contribution to things like Psychoanalysis, Philosophy, Film and Critical theory might be, I have grown quite tired of his shooting from the hip/writing for the agrandissement of his ego. His desire to associate Deleuze with Hegel is just about as helpful to a reader as Badiou's attempt to make Deleuze a Heiddegerian. It just doesn't work. Especially from the perspective of those who know the breadth of Deleuze's work good enough to decipher the sheer irrelevance and sheer idiocy at times of Zizek's desire to be provocative. I can honestly say that this book helped me zero percent in appreciating either Zizek's originality nor the thought of Deleuze. Big Thumbs Down!
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