The structure of domination today: A Lacanian view

  • Žižek S
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Abstract

Two topics determine today's liberal tolerant attitude towards Others: the respect of Otherness and the obsessive fear of harassment: the Other is OK insofar as its presence is not intrusive, insofar as the Other is not really Other. The central human right in late-capitalist society, namely the right to be free from all ldquoharassmentrdquo by the Other including the violent imposition of ethical norms, contrasts sharply with the violent imposition of divine Mosaic law – the Decalogue – from which the idea of human rights ultimately derives. The underlying discursive shift can be analyzed with the help of Lacan: the discourse of the Master had been replaced by university discourse. While the Master's decision is per se violent, university discourse is enunciated from the position of lsquoneutralrsquo Knowledge. The lsquotruthrsquo of the university discourse is power: the constitutive lie of the university discourse is that it disavows its performative dimension, presenting what effectively amounts to a political decision based on power as a simple insight into the factual state of things.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Agamben
  • Biopolitics
  • Consumption
  • Domination
  • Excess-enjoyment
  • Foucault
  • Four discourses
  • Lacan
  • Love/charity
  • Master-Signifier
  • Nietzsche
  • Racine
  • Reduplicatio
  • Tolerance
  • Totalitarianism
  • University discourse
  • Woody Allen

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Authors

  • Slavoj Žižek

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