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An ideological conception of politics— critique of Zizek on political theology

Boucher, Geoff 2016, An ideological conception of politics— critique of Zizek on political theology, Critique: journal of socialist theory, vol. 44, no. 4, pp. 451-463, doi: 10.1080/03017605.2016.1236487.

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Title An ideological conception of politics— critique of Zizek on political theology
Author(s) Boucher, GeoffORCID iD for Boucher, Geoff orcid.org/0000-0002-2768-9958
Journal name Critique: journal of socialist theory
Volume number 44
Issue number 4
Start page 451
End page 463
Total pages 13
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Place of publication Abingdon, Eng.
Publication date 2016
ISSN 0301-7605
1748-8605
Keyword(s) Zizek
Althusser
Lacan
Religion
Theology
C1
Summary For some time now, Slavoj Zizek has provocatively maintained that the radical left needs a ‘politics of universal Truth’ whose model is Pauline theology’s transformation of the Hellenistic world. Furthermore, in light of the worldwide resurgence of religious militancy after 9/11, Zizek also contends that political theology provides the conceptual resources for thinking historical materialism today. Zizek here represents the leading wing of a ‘theological turn’ amongst radical intellectuals, for whom religion is a last resource of hope following the collapse of historical communism. In this article, I show that this rather desperate position leads to an ideological conception of politics, one that introduces mystified representations of social antagonism and class struggle into the heart of progressive theory. Through an imminent critique of Zizek’s work that draws upon its Althusserian foundations, I demonstrate that, although Zizek makes some important contributions to the critique of ideology, his theoretical position contains a significant problem. The idea that ideology and politics are structurally the same, which is what allows him to discuss problems of socialist strategy in the medium of political theology, is seriously flawed. It leads Zizek inevitably towards metaphysical notions of the subject of history, and away from theoretical engagement with rethinking the concept of class struggle for the new century.
Language eng
DOI 10.1080/03017605.2016.1236487
Field of Research 220307 Hermeneutic and Critical Theory
1499 Other Economics
2002 Cultural Studies
2203 Philosophy
Socio Economic Objective 970122 Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Grant ID DP120104085
Copyright notice ©2016, Critique
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30090224

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Communication and Creative Arts
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