By Ian Parker
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Extra info for Slavoj Zizek: A Critical Introduction
The gaze of the outsider on a scene of horror is always, then, a particular kind of horror for them, and the fantasmatic mediation of what they see carries with it what they want or do not want to see there. 26 The gaze of the West on the destruction of Sarajevo, for example, was itself ‘evil’ insofar as it anxiously searched for images of victims, victims whose fate was sealed at least in part by imperialist design. There is a way of fairly systematically shutting out one’s own place in what one sees.
Zizek is contradictory, and my analysis of the contradictoriness of life at the edge of Yugoslavia is a way of mapping that. Tactical collusion with the Stalinist bureaucracy in order to make a living in the 1970s, and open support for the Slovenian state after the restoration of capitalism in the 1990s, do not at all serve to discredit what Zizek writes; but when he claims to be a Marxist we can respond with some comradely Marxist assessment of the political strategies he has adopted. When he claims to use psychoanalytic theory, we need to examine those claims to see whether they make sense and what the limits might be.
Parker 01 intro 1/29/04 12:32 PM Page 36 2 Enlightenment – With Hegel The Western European Enlightenment was an intellectual and cultural movement driven by the power of reason and set on the defeat of medieval obscurantism. It is not only a way to understand the world and our place in it, an accumulating series of philosophical exercises for improving the mind, but a system of moral improvement institutionally embedded in forms of government, and has even come to operate as a programme for mental health.
Slavoj Zizek: A Critical Introduction by Ian Parker