Žižek and Media Studies: A Reader

Žižek and Media Studies: A Reader

Matthew Flisfeder, Louis-Paul Willis

Language: English

Pages: 315

ISBN: 2:00225721

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Since the early 1970s, film, media, and cultural theorists have appealed to Lacanian psychoanalytic theory in order to discern processes of subjectivization, representation, and ideological interpellation. However, beginning with the work of theorists such as Jacqueline Rose, Joan Copjec, and Slavoj Žižek, a new approach to Lacan has been advanced, one which pays closer attention to concepts such as sexual difference, the 'objet petit a' (the object-cause of desire), fantasy, the Real, enjoyment, and the drive. Žižek in particular has advanced a political-philosophical re-interpretation of Lacan that has spawned a whole new wave of film, media, and cultural theory that shows a marked difference from an early Lacanian approach. The contributors in this book take up a specifically Žižekian approach to studies of cinema and media, both old and new, raising questions about power, ideology, sexual difference, and enjoyment. Including chapters written by key figures in Žižekian film, media, and cultural theory such as Jodi Dean, Todd McGowan, Paul A. Taylor, and Fabio Vighi, it concludes with a response from Žižek himself.

"Flisfeder and Willis completely reshape our understanding of the history of psychoanalytic film theory by contextualizing it through Slavoj Žižek's impact. Žižek and Media Studies comes at a time when contemporary psychoanalytic film theory has changed substantially and this contribution is thus required reading." - Hilary Neroni, Film and Television Studies, University of Vermont, USA and author of The Subject of Torture: Psychoanalysis, Biopolitics, and Media Representations

"One thing that makes reading Žižek so interesting and (let's be honest) entertaining is the way he engages popular culture and media. Unfortunately the impact of this effort has been largely underappreciated within the discipline of Media Studies. This book repairs that deficiency by developing a distinctly Žižekian approach to media scholarship. It is indispensable for anyone interested in Žižek and a must-read for students, teachers, and researchers in Media, Film, and Communication Studies." - David J. Gunkel, Professor, Northern Illinois University, USA and author of The Machine Question and Heidegger and the Media

Introduction: Žižek and Media Studies, Beyond Lacan; Matthew Flisfeder and Louis-Paul Willis
1. Žižek's Reception: Fifty Shades of Gray Ideology; Paul A. Taylor
2. The Sublime Absolute: Althusser, Žižek, and the Critique of Ideology; Agon Hamza
3. Student Fantasies: A Žižekian Perspective on the 2012 Quebec Student Uprising; Louis-Paul Willis
4. The Objective: The Configuration of Trauma in the 'War on Terror,' or the Sublime Object of the Medium; Richard Bégin
5. The Priority of the Example: Hegel Contra Film Studies; Todd McGowan
6. Imagining the End Times: Ideology, the Contemporary Disaster Movie, and Contagion; Matthew Beaumont
7. Žižek and the 80s Movie Song: "There Is a Non-Relationship"; Graham Wolfe
8. A Little Piece of the Reel: Prosthetic Vocality and the Obscene Surplus of Record Production; Mickey Vallee
9. White Elephants and Dark Matter(s): Watching the World Cup with Slavoj Žižek; Tim Walters
10. Contingent Encounters and Retroactive Signification: Zooming in on the Dialectical Core of Žižek's Film Criticism; Fabio Vighi
11. How to Kill Your Mother: Heavenly Creatures, Desire and Žižek's Return to Ideology; Cindy Zeiher
12. Dialogue with American Skepticism: Cavell and Žižek on Sexual Difference; Keiko Ogata
13. From Interpassive to Interactive Cinema: A Genealogy of the Moving Image of Cynicism; Tamas Nagypal
14. Beyond the Beyond: CGI and the Anxiety of Overperfection; Hugh Manon
15. Slavoj Žižek as Internet Philosopher; Clint Burnham
16. The Real Internet; Jodi Dean
17. Enjoying Social Media; Matthew Flisfeder
18. Is Torture Part of Your Social Network; Tara Atluri
Afterword: Staging Feminine Hysteria: Schoenberg's Erwartung; Slavoj Žižek

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some principles from which you can deduce conclusions, empirically testable propositions where it all goes beyond the level of something you can explain in five minutes to a twelve-year-old. See if you can find that when the fancy words are decoded. I can’t. So I’m not interested in that kind of posturing. Žižek is an extreme example of it. I don’t see anything to what he’s saying.7 18  Paul A. Taylor The best single illustration of this active unwillingness to recognize Žižek’s analysis of

as “stages” or “phases” that the subject must “traverse”—as such, the Imaginary is described as a “moment” defined by the mirror-stage, instead of a realm defined by the individual’s relation to image and ideal. This, of course, leads to a Lacanian model that not only left the Real aside, but ignored the radicalness inherent to its coexistence with the Imaginary and—especially—the Symbolic. In a 1989 article, “The Undergrowth of Enjoyment,” Žižek engages with the Lacanian misconceptions that

notably to sexual disjunctions, which arise from the opening line: “Tonight it’s very clear, as we’re both lying here.” Not only are Daniel and Kumiko never seen lying together; sex seems an ontological impossibility in this film—even their brief kiss is interrupted by a storm that arises to forestall the sexual relationship. Similarly, the singer’s profession of love (“I will always love you”) is much too direct for Daniel, who can only hint at his feelings. The phrase, sung quietly and tilting

Kirby approaches romance—the Olympian magnitude of his ­strivings—is to recognize the short-circuit between his desire and the song. Putting a self-­ referential twist on Parr’s chorus (“I can feel St. Elmo’s Fire burning in me”), we could say that what “burns” in Kirby is the song itself. Parr’s video is most revealing when recognized as a literalization of this dynamic. It depicts Parr himself at St. Elmo’s, playing the song live and thus transforming the bar—a place condensing the libidinal

refuses to be killed. Notes 1. Sophie Fiennes, The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology: Lacanian Psychoanalysis and Film (University Kingdom: Lone Star Films, 2005). 2. Rex Bulter, Slavoj Žižek: Live Theory (London: Continuum, 2005), 32. 3. Slavoj Žižek, E. Wright, and E. Wright, The Žižek Reader (Oxford: Blackwell, 1999), 55. 4. Myers, Slavoj Žižek (London: Routledge, 2003), 53. 5. Slavoj Zizek, The Sublime Object of Ideology (London: Verso, 1989), 21. 6. Slavoj Žižek, Mapping Ideology (London:

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