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3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  2,027 ratings  ·  148 reviews
Philosopher, cultural critic, and agent provocateur Slavoj Žižek constructs a fascinating new framework to look at the forces of violence in our world.

Using history, philosophy, books, movies, Lacanian psychiatry, and jokes, Slavoj Žižek examines the ways we perceive and misperceive violence. Drawing from his unique cultural vision, Žižek brings new light to the Paris riot
Paperback, 272 pages
Published July 22nd 2008 by Picador (first published January 1st 2007)
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One doesn't go to Slavoj Žižek for answers. One goes to him for questions. He raises them, then raises some more, and asks us to raise questions for every answer we get. That is his genius, and that's what makes him worth while. The interrogatives -- Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How? -- are his and our most powerful tools, and he challenges us to use them.

When I was a 4 year old boy, I wore a helmet for a year because I fractured my skull. That's the story I grew up with. "I" fractured my s
Aug 14, 2008 Imogen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: hipster assholes
I don't want to assert that 'the rock star of cultural theory' is full of shit, but y'know, Slavoj Žižek seems to me to be kind of full of shit.

Me: Hey Mr Žižek! What did you think of the last season of Lost?

Žižek: Well, in the context of a Hegelian dialectic, this work must be considered ultimately a usurpation/derivation of Freud's pathetic "death drive" mythos, if you get me. By which I mean, it's opposed to Nietzsche's ironic reading of the story of Job, but only in letter; not so much in s
zizek thinks "the village" was a good movie
Marzieh rasouli
خیلی باهاش خوش گذشت. تو عنوان اصلی اومده که کتاب شیش تا نگاه مختلف به خشونت کرده اما ما تو فارسی "پنج نگاه زیر چشمی" میخونیم. مترجم هم توضیحی نداده که اون یه نگاه کجا رفته و چرا حذف شده. من نگاه ژیژک رو دوست دارم که از همه چی آشناییزدایی میکنه. ایرادش اینه که با رندی از غفلت و احتمالن دانش کم خوانندهش استفاده میکنه که مبهوتش کنه. یعنی میبینی یه جاهای از یه موضوع کمترین اطلاعات رو میده، و اینطوری وانمود میکنه که این اطلاعت کل اطلاعات و داشتههاست و بر اساس همون اطلاعات نظریهش رو مطرح میکنه و نتیجه ...more
Here is a slightly patronizing way of summarizing the methodology of Slovenian philosopher, Slavoj Zizek; address a relevant social issue (such as violence) and certain ideological perspectives that have been applied to it, cut and paste seemingly disparate examples of high and low culture arbitrarily throughout the text, draw reaching connections between the two, and hopefully attempt to arrive at an intelligible conclusion or thesis. This became apparent during my reading of Violence, part of ...more
Justin Evans
Nobody is subject to such diminishing returns as Zizek, in large part because by the time I've finished this review he'll have published two books. 'Violence' makes a great point about how difficult it is to write about violence: if you don't make a big show about how sympathetic you are to victims of (what we usually call) violence, you look like a psychopath; if you do put on that show, you're unlikely to say anything interesting. So, he argues, you have to write about violence obliquely. He p ...more
If you're ready to go along with Zizek for the ride...this book is sure to take you out of whatever box you're currently in and do to your box exactly what the cover of this book portrays.

He may be self-indulgent, but it's a nice blend of psych, linguistics and philosophy that makes his case complete.

Last year I grew inexcusably lazy with philosophy, favoring watered-down texts infused with psychobabble and sociological schemata. Zizek was the worst offender on my bad-philosophers list. The sole purpose behind my absolute enamour with his writings was the potpurrian style of combining popular culture with historical philosophy. As my reading within his realm of work progressed, I realized that Zizek in fact does very little philosophizing of his own, aside from condemning marginalized groups ...more
Laura Jean
Thought provoking must-read. Here's a longer review I wrote, once upon a time:

Review: On Violence

Slavoj Žižek's book On Violence is a modern treatise on injustice that seeks to demystify the motivations behind subjective violence—e.g. hitting, shooting, rioting, bombing, warring—by examining the systemic and objective violence inherent in capitalism, liberal ideals of selfhood, and order. The book is broken into six parts designated by italian subtitles that correspond to the tempo and mood in
Considering all the praise Zizek is getting these years, I was very disappointed with this book. This book is structured around six 'sideways glances on violence', supposedly beccause there is something inherently obscure about the nature of violence - fair enough, but Zizeks points are either fairly commonplace - You know he's not the first to talk about "violence inherit in the system", Monty Python did that as well only funnier - or else obscure and overthought. I really don't know how Zizek ...more
It feels more than a little strange to be reading and enjoying a book calling for the violent overthrow of capitalism and liberal democracy when my most fervent political hope of the moment is that Barack Obama will re-start the American economy by passing an effective stimulus bill, and humanize American capitalism by re-regulating big business and enacting some form of universal health care legislation. But I did enjoy the book and that is what Zizek is calling for here isn't it? Or is it?

Justin Mitchell
Zizek does Zizek, meaning he riffs on contemporary culture from countless angles, his goal not so much to create a philosophical premise as to encourage people to think critically about the modern world, to challenge the presumptions and premises, and see how ingrained they are into everyday life. And I feel this is extremely important--far too often people in the world and especially America who are smart enough to know better allow themselves to fall into a foggy intellectual complacency that ...more
واقعا عالی بود، خیلی خوشم اومد به خصوص جمعبندی آخرش تو "پسگفتار". اواسط و اواخر کتاب قصد داشتم به خاطر ترجمهی ضعیفش 4 بدم ولی با خوندن قسمت آخر دیدم واقعا باید 5 بدم حتی با این ترجمه. ...more
Stephanie Berbec
Our Žižek collection takes up nearly an entire shelf on it’s own. Steven enjoys reading him. I’m familiar enough with him from reading excerpts, hearing lectures, and from conversations with Steven—but I’ve never read a book in it’s entirety until Violence.

According to Žižek, violence takes three forms: subjective/“physical” violence (the most visible of the three, pertaining to crime, mass-murder and terror), objective/“ideological” violence (pertaining to language and its form; i.e., hate-spe
Zizek often seems like a mixed bag from what I've read/listened to of his thinking in the past, but this for the most part is actually pretty strong. His ideas about violence are, like most things Zizek, idiosyncratic; a blend of critical theory, Hegelian philosophy and psychoanalysis while at the same time a critical rejection and modification of each of those thing. But unlike some of his other writings, this one never gets too bogged down in tedious Lacanian/Hegelian nomenclature and he stick ...more
Guillermo Jiménez
No logro comprender por qué en la escuela nunca me hablaron de Žižek. Lo puedo comprender en la prepa, pero, en la carrera. En la Filosofía y Letras. Sí, sí, vimos a otros autores, de acuerdo, pero, ¿por qué este no?

Me imagino como haber vivido y “estudiado” ciencias entre los siglos XVII y XVIII en Alemania y no haber escuchado nada de Leibniz. Nada.

Lo primero que supe de Žižek fue su The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema (2006) en donde apoyado por las imágenes de filmes clásicos o sumamente populares
David Rush
This review is a bit of a confessional since I think the major failing of this book is me reading it, sorry about that.

I learned a lot by reading this, one thing I just now realized is why I was never a good student in school. It is so much clearer now, but on any assignment I would become focused on individual bits and not step back and take in the big picture.

This relates since with this book I could never get past Žižek's colorful quirks to get a feel for his grand scheme of society.

It star
Sitharthan Sriharan
Mar 08, 2012 Sitharthan Sriharan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: No one
Recommended to Sitharthan by: a random internet forum
This is my second book I have read by Slavoj Zizek. My first was "First as Tragedy, Then as Farce". I have to say I was attracted to Zizek for his style a bit, but also because I've been wanting to read some work by contemporary continental philosophers. I have to say though, after this book, I'm already getting tired of Zizek's "shitty political interventions", to use his own words from a guardian interview a couple years ago. If you're trying to look for philosophical substance in Zizek, I don ...more
I know it might sound cliche, but this book changed the way that I interpret violence that I learn and have learned about in this world of ours. Zizek goes a little overboard, occasionally, seeing links and identifying convergences in places where there might not be any, but when you're reading it, you can't help but think he's right about, well, just about everything.

He provides explanations for some of the big violent events of my lifetime, and uses these events to provide a theoretical underp
This is the first Zizek book I attempted to read. I got most of the way through it before deciding that it wasn't worth it to finish. The way he writes was incredibly difficult to understand, and I have an English Lit/Anthropology degree so "difficult to understand" is something I'm well practiced in. It felt like he didn't have one, or even two or three, main thesis. The work felt scattered and incoherent. Every 30 or 40 pages, I would find an argument that made sense and I felt akin to but see ...more
The sad thing is that I'm actually sort of in agreement with Zizek's conclusion that the most profound form of revolutionary upheaval (or, violence) may be in "doing nothing". Some of his provocation is pretty disgusting though, and geeze, just drop the cultural critic bullshit.
أختلف معه في بعض الأفكار، لكن هذا الرجل فعلاً فيلسوف. أسلوبه في الحديث في محاضراته ولقاءاته شيق جداً ويجذبني كمتابع ومشاهد، واتبع نفس الأسلوب في كتابه هذا، اسقاطات القصص والأمثلة التي يضربها لإيصال الفكرة، تحليله للأفلام واقتباساته وحديثه عنها، جعلت من فكرة الكتاب الذي يتكلم عن العنف بشتى مجالاته رغم تجاوزه الموضوع وخرج عنه في مواضع كثيرة إلا إنه استطاع للقارئ أن يوصل له مجمل الأفكار والرؤى التي يحملها جيجك. وسيجد من شاهد محاضراته في اليوتيوب الكثير من التكرار في الكتاب. وأعتقد إعجابي لهذا الرجل ...more
Three stars purely for some interesting insights about the banlieue riots, and a nice little observation about the Abu Ghraib pictures as making us think more of a performance art piece in a NY gallery than torture. Even that is outrageously generous. I have had enough of Zizek's books at this point. If you have read one, you have read them all. From now on I'm only going to bother with his occasional essays and journalism, the effort expended on his books is simply not worth it.

Longer review h
Matthew Martin
Having just gotten a taste of Žižek through the Pervert's Guide documentaries (…"To Cinema" & "To Ideology"), I was interested in checking out some of his written work and started here (mainly because it was the first one to show up via inter-library loan). I have to say that digesting Žižek's theses are bit more challenging without the aid of Sophie Fiennes' inventive visuals to bolster them. However, Violence was still a surprisingly breezy read for something so dense (especially consideri ...more
ترجمه فارسي ضعيف و در برخي قسمتها نامفهوم هست و مفاهيم رو گنگ كرده
نگاه كتاب به خشونت طي يك دسته بندي موضوعي از جهات مختلف بررسي شده و ارجاعات متعدد به فيلم و نمايشنامه و نظريات فلسفي توي تمام فصل ها وجود داره كه بعضا ازاردهنده است
به عنوان يك زاويه ديد متفاوت به خشونت و گشتن به دنبال علت اصلي لابلاي طيف هاي فلسفي و مذهبي و هنجارهاي فرهنگي جامعه كتاب جالب هست هر چند لحن نويسنده (شايد به علت ضعف ترجمه) گاها ناخوشايند ميشه
بعضا ميشه يك سري توضيحات رو بدون اينكه به فهم كلي از كتاب اسيب برسونه حذف كرد
Halo Peshdary
My review is more like a...3.75 than it is a 4. It's not a 4 by my usual standards of a 4, but 3 just felt like too harsh a rating. Just roll with it.

This review will be split into two parts: an overview and review of the book where I'll review the book and describe its logical arc, and then a personal ramble on a few points in the book.

If you're reading reviews of Zizek books, chances are either A) you've already read Zizek and you just want to know what other people thought of Zizek and/or th
Vishal Misra
Žižek is frustrating, always. "Violence" is no exception. It's not his writing style that does it, but rather his antics. That's not to say the book isn't worthwhile reading. As ever Žižek raises some interesting points, though, as ever he also proffers no real answers. Is violence created by liberal capitalism? Possibly. But his socio-cultural philosophy also is full of violence of his own. Žižek speaks of revolution, liberal communists and the violence of love, but his presentation of these ph ...more
Luis Peyssonneau
Deixei de ler na página 90 depois de leitura cruzada em algumas folhas. Uma viagem intelectual e artística que apesar de desenvolver algumas ideias em contextos actuais muito interessantes se torna com frequência um pouco enfadonha. Acima de tudo ficou uma leitura que não me estava a dar prazer e por isso nada como parar!
More a series of jabs and body blows than a choreographed diplay of sytemic rigour, Zizke succeeds in provoking thought, often after fomenting outrage. It certainly works. His thoughts on Israel and the Palestinian Authority were sage. Snaring ontological love in the mesh of institutional violence was a bit beyond me.
Zak Brown
One of my favorite works from Slavoj. Very accessible and easy to read for the average reader (such as myself). I suppose that the failures of this work come from maybe the recycled nature of much of its content (if you've read Zizek before, a lot of what is said is not particularly novel) and the manner by which he goes about the book. Often times I am left rather confused as to the line of thought. He seems to jump from one point to another with little segway. This is not entirely uncharacteri ...more
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Slavoj Žižek is a Slovene sociologist, philosopher, and cultural critic.

He was born in Ljubljana, Slovenia (then part of SFR Yugoslavia). He received a Doctor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Ljubljana and studied psychoanalysis at the University of Paris VIII with Jacques-Alain Miller and François Regnault. In 1990 he was a candidate with the party Liberal Democracy of Slovenia for P
More about Slavoj Žižek...
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“A German officer visited Picasso in his Paris studio during the Second World War. There he saw Guernica and, shocked at the modernist «chaos» of the painting, asked Picasso: «Did you do this?» Picasso calmly replied: «No, you did this!»” 54 likes
“What about animals slaughtered for our consumption? who among us would be able to continue eating pork chops after visiting a factory farm in which pigs are half-blind and cannot even properly walk, but are just fattened to be killed? And what about, say, torture and suffering of millions we know about, but choose to ignore? Imagine the effect of having to watch a snuff movie portraying what goes on thousands of times a day around the world: brutal acts of torture, the picking out of eyes, the crushing of testicles -the list cannot bear recounting. Would the watcher be able to continue going on as usual? Yes, but only if he or she were able somehow to forget -in an act which suspended symbolic efficiency -what had been witnessed. This forgetting entails a gesture of what is called fetishist disavowal: "I know it, but I don't want to know that I know, so I don't know." I know it, but I refuse to fully assume the consequences of this knowledge, so that I can continue acting as if I don't know it.” 33 likes
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