Youtube Club: Slavoj Žižek and ideology

Cinema, psychoanalysis, politics, communism, marxism, chocolate laxative, theology and toilets. These topics all play a central role in the ideas of the provoking Slovenian-born critical philosopher and psychoanalyst Slavoj Žižek, who is awkwardly dubbed as the “Elvis of cultural theory”.

The best introduction to Slavoj Žižek is probably Slavoj Žižek himself:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hg7qdowoemo

To use a question asked by Žižek: Why is it that Hollywood, the imagination of (popular) western culture cannot imagine a post-capitalist world, and has a much easier time imagining simply the end of the world? He argues that this political-cultural problem is not different from the psychoanalytic problem, which is: how do you puncture, break through what people say so that you can open up new space for thought? By revolutionizing how to think about the problem of ideology, Žižek believes that we can only get to the real answers by structuring and exploring people's fantasies.

In an unconventional fashion, instead of recommended readings, following the scores of public appearances of Žižek there are two videos that will provide the fuel for our discussions.

The first video is a speech given by Žižek in London in 2011. In this speech he introduces his book “Living in the End Times” by talking about ideology in contemporary political- and cultural examples. The speech ends after one hour, and you don't need to watch the question and answers section.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cW1zUh94uMY

The second video is a documentary from 2004 which is a lecture by Žižek. He discusses in a much denser manner what lies at the heart of his thesis on ideology – get a pen and a paper ready for this one!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GahnBiQJay8

According to his critics, far from being consistent and systematic, Žižek's main aim is to provoke and think about the contemporary global world in a novel way. I say, let's keep to this thought and to the style of Žižek: let's be provoked and let's discuss how to get rid of our ideologies, and how it is impossible to do so.

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  • Gerko Tempelman

    Thanks guys, it was a fun meeting. I liked the diversity of people, experiences and backgrounds. Also, I thought the video as an introduction to Zizek's thought was really helpful. Great job Gab (and the rest of us! :-) )

    For anyone who's interested, this Wednesday night is the first 'Church for Atheists (and agnostics and the rest of us)' MeetUp in the center of Amsterdam: http://www.meetup.com/Amsterdam...­

    From a philosophical point of view:
    Atheism 2.0 / religion for atheists (or more generally, people that don't necessary believe in something) is an upcoming school of thought that's worth a view. Check:
    - philosopher Alain de Botton on TedX: http://www.ted.com/talks/alain_...­
    - google Jason Silva: https://www.nerdist.com/2013/11/...­

    So for some applicable, practical life philosophy, with help of religion, come by and join this Wednesday!

    December 9

    • Mary Kelly

      Thanks for sending along the information to the group Gerko - I would love to come along as I enjoy reading de Botton's material but I will be away on a trip. Looking forward to joining another time.

      1 · December 9

    • Gab

      I would've really liked to join, Gerko, but unfortunately I can't make it tomorrow! But I will sure make time for it in the future. Thanks!

      December 10

  • Mary Kelly

    For those who understand German this is a short clip by the German/Korean philosopher Byun-Chul Han mentioned by Pauline yesterday. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=...­

    Similarly to Žižek, Byun-Chul Han is a cultural theorist who is interested in a variety of topics. When I listened to him today his thoughts seemed to reflect closely many of the points that were raised by the group yesterday. In this clip he speaks mainly of the relationship between neo-liberalism, capitalism, and the culture of "optimization" on tiredness, exhaustion, and a lack of personal freedom. Thanks Pauline for suggesting his work as a potential source of discussion for a future meetup.

    December 9

    • Mary Kelly

      Oops! - I meant Byung-Chul Han.

      December 9

    • Mary Kelly

      Thanks for posting the article Pauline - it's a timely read and will definitely provide the basis for a future discussion.

      December 9

  • Gab

    Thanks girls & guys for the discussion! If you are interested more in the ideas of Zizek around communism and what we should focus on with regards to our future, I recommend you this talk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=...­

    As Usual, the bottom line of his ideas are at the end (last 20 minutes or so, around the commons), and As Usual, he doesn't have too concrete solutions :-) but nonetheless intriguing...á la Zizek.

    December 9

  • Arjan Verhoeff

    A little parody on Slavoj:
    http://youtu.be/80X0pbCV_t4­

    1 · December 9

  • Mary Kelly

    Great that you all came along today :-). It was interesting and fun to try and deciper Žižek's ideas and to consider how they might apply to the reality of living in a seemingly paradoxical world where superficiality and complexity converge. Thanks to Gab for suggesting and introducing the topic. The next meeting will explore potential contrasts in the ways in which Western and Asian populations think. We will read a chapter selected from Richard Nisbett's book on the subject The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently - and Why. Thanks to Pauline for suggesting the topic. More information on this meeting will follow soon. Enjoy the winter break (if you want to ;-)) and looking forward to seeing you again for our next discussion in January.

    1 · December 8

    • Arjan Verhoeff

      Yes, thanks for the effort guys. It was very good.

      December 9

  • Aida Kristina Dedeic

    sorry I was on the waiting list, and now I said yes to work for a colleague of mine. Buy I would definitley like to join next time

    December 8

    • Mary Kelly

      Looking forward to seeing you there another time Aida.

      December 8

  • Sona

    I've been sick since this morning and feeling pretty horrible at the moment, so not likely to make it after all. My sincere apologies.

    December 8

    • Mary Kelly

      No worries Sona. Hope you feel better soon.

      December 8

  • Mary Kelly

    Hi everybody,

    Great that so many are coming along :-). After watching the videos posted by Gab and the letters on the link sent along by Noad I feel this is going to be a very interesting discussion indeed. Thanks Gab for suggesting, preparing and hosting this session. I have booked a larger room at the ABC treehouse so that we can split into two groups - if needed. I would appreciate if someone with an informed interest in this subject area and/or the philosopher could help steer the discussion in the second group after Gab does the initial introduction. Seeing as we have a bigger room there is also place for those on the waiting list. So Virginia, Aida and Rania - please feel free to come along. Also - if anyone who has signed up is unable to come along please let me know in advance of Sunday. By the way the room costs about 60 euros to rent so the cost will be about 4-5 euros each. Tea and coffee is provided, snacks are welcome. Looking forward to it,
    Mary

    December 6

  • A former member
    A former member

    This may be an interesting movie to watch before sunday:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=...­

    (It's the trailer of Sophie Fiennes' 'The Pervert's guide to Ideology'
    starring Slavoj Žižek)

    1 · December 2

    • Gab

      The initial idea was to go with the whole club and watch the movie actually, so great that you mentioned it! :) it was difficult to find an airing time that would be good for everyone. The movie certainly adds a lot to the whole Zizek experience with some nice movie examples, but those of you who can't watch it will not feel left out at our discussions ;)

      1 · December 2

  • A former member
    A former member

    Until the required readings are announced, you may want to read this http://www.theguardian.com/musi...­

    1 · November 21

    • Arjan Verhoeff

      Nice link. A quote: "Experts are, by definition, servants of those in power: they don't really think, they just apply their knowledge to the problems defined by those in power".

      2 · December 2

  • Virginia

    Hi there, I would like to attend this meeting about Žižek. Looking forward to an intersting discussion.

    1 · December 1

  • Gerko Tempelman

    any required readings?

    November 19

    • Gab

      Hi Gerko, the sources for the next session will be coming this week, I hope!

      1 · November 20

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