As If: traversing the fantasy in Žižek

Bran Nicol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One of the distinguishing features of Žižek’s work is its capacity to be both predictable and original at the same time. It reads into culture and philosophy the same Lacanian structures, drawing the same conclusions. Yet it is precisely this overdetermination that allows him to see his examples as no one else has. Reading his books has been compared to using a CD ROM—‘click here, go there, use this fragment, that story or scene1—an analogy which suggests that despite the enormous wealth ofmaterial Žižek explores throughout his work, the explorations are conducted in the name of an overall project which remains consistent in its theoretical basis and aims. There is also a standard interpretative procedure in his work: typically Žižek will introduce an object of attention (a philosophical idea, a social event, a film), tell us how it is usually interpreted, then bring it all into focus with an expert adjustment of the lens until suddenly we are ‘looking awry’ at the object. Then he explains that in fact this is nothing other than a precise exemplification of this or that process in Lacan.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-155
Number of pages16
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2001


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