Positioning the Intellectual: Žižek as a Sociological Phenomenon

Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Group
Elian Bar-El, Department of Sociology
The Richard King Room, Darwin College
Tuesday, November 28, 2017 - 13:10 to 14:00

[NOTE CHANGE OF SPEAKER AND TOPIC] Ever since the beginning of the 21st century, Žižek has been considered both a worldwide prominent thinker and a militant intellectual. Deemed by some as the most dangerous philosopher is the West, and by others as one of the world's best-known public intellectuals, he has a journal, dictionary, and a nightclub named after him. How can we account for the rise to prominence of the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek? From peripheral Slovenia, lacking prestigious academic credentials, without proper intellectual elegancy, this quirky Hegelo-Lacanian has nevertheless firmly placed himself at the epicentre of today’s global intellectual landscape. By using a performative framework and positioning theory I will explore this phenomenon sociologically, and will render it intelligible by carefully tracing the causal links of this exceptional emergence. Walking between the (battle-) lines of biography and history, the sociological account which highlights interventions might, in turn, also inform us about the societal condition under which such intellectual activity is taking place.

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