Friday, 10 August 2007

Slavoj Žižek and the meaning of freedom

The new paperback edition of Slavoj Žižek’s The Universal Exception has just been released. It includes a new essay with the catchy title, “Some Politically Incorrect Reflections on the Violence in France and Related Matters.” And it also includes a delightful new preface by Žižek, entitled “The Big Other between Violence and Civility.” Drawing on the notion of civility as a free act which is feigned as an obligation, Žižek characterises human freedom as a “feigned necessity” (p. xii). Belonging to a society “involves a paradoxical point at which each of us is ordered to embrace freely, as the result of our choice, what is imposed on us anyway” – this is the “paradox of choosing freely what is already necessary” (p. xv).

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