In Žižek's long-awaited magnum opus, he theorizes the "parallax gap" in the ontological, the scientific, and the political—and rehabilitates dialectical materialism.
A Lacanian-Hegelian philosopher and pop culture critic who divides his time between America and Slovenia, Zizek is one of the few living writers to combine theoretical rigor with compulsive readability, and his new volume provides perhaps the clearest elaboration of his theoretical framework thus far. Expatiating on such subjects as Heidegger, neuroscience, the war on terror and The Matrix, he seeks to rehabilitate dialectical materialism by replacing the popular "yin-yang" interpretation (the struggle between opposites that ultimately form a whole) with a theory of the "gap which separates the One from itself." One example is a tribe whose two subgroups draw mutually exclusive plans of their village: their deadlock "implies a hidden reference to a constant... an imbalance in social relations that prevented the community from stabilizing itself into a harmonious whole." Discussing Abu Ghraib and pedophilia in the Catholic Church, Zizek explores how an ideological edifice is sustained by underground transgressions: "Law can be sustained only by a sovereign power which reserves for itself the right... to suspend the rule of law(s) on behalf of the Law itself." Based on his interpretation of Lacanian psychoanalysis, he envisions a society in which public law would no longer sustain itself through its own obscene breach. This challenging book takes us on a roller-coaster ride whose every loop is a Mobius strip. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.