Did Someone Say Totalitarianism?: 5 Interventions in the (Mis)Use of a Notion

Did Someone Say Totalitarianism?: 5 Interventions in the (Mis)Use of a Notion Review

In some circles, a nod towards totalitarianism is enough to dismiss any critique of the status quo. Such is the insidiousness of the neo-liberal ideology, argues Slavoj Žižek.  Did Somebody Say Totalitarianism? turns a specious rhetorical strategy on its head to identify a network of family resemblances between totalitarianism and modern liberal democracy.  Žižek argues that totalitarianism is invariably defined in terms of four things: the Holocaust as the ultimate, diabolical evil; the Stalinist gulag as the alleged truth of the socialist revolutionary project; ethnic and religious fundamentalisms, which are to be fought through multiculturalist tolerance; and the deconstructionist idea that the ultimate root of totalitarianism is the ontological closure of thought.  Žižek concludes that the devil lies not so much in the detail but in what enables the very designation totalitarian: the liberal-democratic consensus itself.

Title:Did Someone Say Totalitarianism?: 5 Interventions in the (Mis)Use of a Notion
Edition Language:English

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    Did Someone Say Totalitarianism?: 5 Interventions in the (Mis)Use of a Notion Reviews

  • Buck

    Since this review is bound to get political sooner or later, I’d better put my ideological cards on the table. I happen to be one of those deluded souls whom Slavoj Žižek dismisses as ‘conformis...

  • Martin

    This being my first Žižek book, I fully expected to be reading about what he told me he would be writing about. Oh, how, one book later, I now know I was so wrong. At more than one point in the book...

  • James

    Zizek takes on some interesting topics in extremely vivid and lucid prose. Particularly interesting are his analyses of the Stalinist Bolshevik Purges and his Lacanian-employed attacks on Neo-Darwinia...

  • Tyler

    I’m not sure if I learned anything by reading this book, but Zizek is an entertaining writer just the same. From the title I expected a discussion of the many uses of the term totalitarianism, but t...

  • Peter Harrison

    This book is certainly a stimulating read. In Zizek's typical style he introduces the book as a meditation on the use of the phrase totalitarianism. What Zizek then serves up is rambling discussion ar...

  • Andrew

    It's a bit of a task trying to draw out the theme of totalitarianism from this book. If you've read Zizek you'll know it's hard to draw out any theme from his books. Much as I like him, he has a tende...

  • Will

    If I had to recommend a Zizek book to someone, this is the one I'd pick. Relatively accessible and focused on an interesting subject. Skip the extras at the end of the latest edition....

  • Josh

    Here Zizek engages in a rambling series of meditations on the bourgeois-centrist disarmament of the radical left through accusations of totalitarianism. The charge seems so fallacious at first blush t...

  • Khashayar Mohammadi

    I love Žižek , but he has serious problems sticking to the point. I love his persona, on stage or off stage, I love his anecdotes and charming sophistry, but I just wish his books were a bit more co...

  • Josh

    I could have done without all of the theoretical jargon. All of the Lacanian terminology and references were difficult to understand as someone who is unfamiliar with Lacan's work. I also wish there w...