Looking Awry : An Introduction to Jacques Lacan Through Popular Culture, Paperback Book

Looking Awry : An Introduction to Jacques Lacan Through Popular Culture Paperback

Part of the October Books series

3.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


Slavoj Zizek, a leading intellectual in the new social movements that are sweeping Eastern Europe, provides a virtuoso reading of Jacques Lacan.

Zizek inverts current pedagogical strategies to explain the difficult philosophical underpinnings of the French theoretician and practician who revolutionized our view of psychoanalysis.

He approaches Lacan through the motifs and works of contemporary popular culture, from Hitchcock's Vertigo to Stephen King's Pet Sematary, from McCullough's An Indecent Obsession to Romero's Return of the Living Dead -- a strategy of "looking awry" that recalls the exhilarating and vital experience of Lacan.Zizek discovers fundamental Lacanian categories the triad Imaginary/Symbolic/Real, the object small a, the opposition of drive and desire, the split subject -- at work in horror fiction, in detective thrillers, in romances, in the mass media's perception of ecological crisis, and, above all, in Alfred Hitchcock's films.

The playfulness of Zizek's text, however, is entirely different from that associated with the deconstructive approach made famous by Derrida.

By clarifying what Lacan is saying as well as what he is not saying, Zizek is uniquely able to distinguish Lacan from the poststructuralists who so often claim him.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 200 pages
  • Publisher: MIT Press Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Cultural studies
  • ISBN: 9780262740159



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Judith Butler said, in a way that always seemed too doting and sat uncomfortably with me, "Discussing Hegel and Lacan is like breathing for Slavoj". i was a cynic; I always thought that in discussing Lacan, Zizek was really discussing Zizek (and sometimes Hitchcock), not that that was a problem, because Zizek is an interesting topic and Zizek discusses him in a fun, clever way. This earlyish vol from the MIT Press, though, makes me think I wasn't giving the guy (Z) credit--in a moderately programmatic way that suits the subject much as though he were writing the mother of all "Lacan for Dummies" books--illustrating each point copiously with examples from film (e.g., constantly, Hitchcock) and "pulp" fiction (e.g. Ruth Rendell, Heinlein, Stephen King, which may legitimately annoy you if you think the line between art and commerce in the book world is too thickly drawn by the conventional wisdom (as who doesn't [which makes hating on the line our new conventional wisdom, I suppose, and Zizek a reverse iconoclast in that wise]?), and without delving too deep into "matheme" bullshit, Zizek does a decent job of demystifying Lacanian silliness and convincing me that maybe, just maybe, the man had something to say about desire and its goals, drives and their aims, that wasn't just basic Freud crossed with basic Foucault crossed with basic common sense with a sprinkling of fuck-off jargon. Nice work! Jouissance!(That's already the second time I've written the word "jouissance" this morning.)

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