Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Sublime Object of Ideology” as Want to Read:
The Sublime Object of Ideology
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Sublime Object of Ideology

by
4.06  ·  Rating details ·  3,203 ratings  ·  117 reviews
In this provocative book, Slavoj Zizek takes a look at the question of human agency in a postmodern world. From the sinking of the Titanic to Hitchcock’s Rear Window, from the operas of Wagner to science fiction, from Alien to the Jewish joke, Zizek’s acute analyses explore the ideological fantasies of wholeness and exclusion that make up human society.

Linking key psychoan
...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 17th 1989 by Verso (first published 1989)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Sublime Object of Ideology, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Alejandro Alvarado No, if anything it will make you understand them less. Critical Theory is hard to take into the messy reality of day to day politics and this book…moreNo, if anything it will make you understand them less. Critical Theory is hard to take into the messy reality of day to day politics and this book mostly concerns itself with the ideological structure of language and thought. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,203 ratings  ·  117 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Geoff
Dec 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I have no business reviewing this book- I have not the background in theory nor the knowledge of the history or methods of philosophical discourse or Lacanian psychoanalysis nor even a strong enough grasp on the concepts and terminologies to adequately say anything enlightening about The Sublime Object of Ideology. To do so adequately and thoroughly I think might require me to write a book called On Žižek’s Sublime Object Of Ideology, which of course would be ridiculous and widely discredited. S
...more
The Awdude
Feb 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Zizek's most revolutionary message, I think, is also probably his simplest: the subject must take responsibility for his own subjectivity. This is a message nobody wants to hear. Especially not today, when the drink of choice is postmodern skepticism: "I am aware of what I am doing but I do it anyway." Zizek takes aim at the post-structuralist, the postmodernist, the post-whateverist, the empty Foucauldian fad, the politically correct, the practicing non-believer, the all-too-comfortable victim, ...more
Matt
Dec 12, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school
My word. My eyes bled. My brain thumped against the inside of my skull. I took long baths with it. I contemplated its murder. If I just drop this in the bath... This isn't a chap who wants you to argue with him. He's not one of those, "Let me be as clear as possible here" type chaps. No, he's a monstrous show off. He splices together the ideas of Marx and Lacan using the Hegelian dialectic. Why? Because he can? Or is it like he says, to shed mutual light on both - and of course - on the what of ...more
Anna
Jan 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I don't know shit lmao" - Socrates
John
Jan 25, 2012 added it
Read the first three chapters. So dense, but so many "aha!" moments on the way through. Zizek combines Marxist commodity and ideology theory with Lacanian psychoanalytics to suggest that identity, ideology, and the self all necessarily depend upon an inaccessible excess, a "kernel of the Real" that we cannot and indeed should not grasp in the symbolic order. The point is consequently not one of understanding the truth that ideology hides, or of lifting the dream content to the latent meaning bel ...more
Shawn
I cannot write to the impact that Slavoj Žižek's The Sublime Object of Ideology has had upon Lacanian Psychoanalyis or Marxist Criticism. I cannot even lie enough to tell you, dear reader, that I understood the majority of this text. But I do know that of what I understood, I thoroughly enjoyed and gathered not only a new perception of the world, but the terminology with which to envision it.

Before remarking that Žižek's writing is "____" or that Žižek's interpretation of the Lacanian "____" is
...more
Camsalisbury
Apr 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Absolutely Brilliant--I had the perfect aha moment, that beautiful instance where the parts snap into place and you begin to understand his theory from the inside--where you can anticipate what zizek will say next, being able to inhabit the system of thought he's working with.

I've been a quasi-fan of Zizek for a long time--agreeing with much of what he has to say but always looking at it from the outside. That is to say, his conclusions seemed incredibly incisive but I couldn't grasp exactly how
...more
Mario
Nov 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bastante interesante, pero necesito adquirir más conocimientos sobre psicoanálisis.
Karl Steel
Nov 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theory
Odd to come at this after having already read a fair amount of Zizek (Parallax View, Desert of the Real, Violence, Enjoy Your Symptom!, Plague of Fantasies, chunks of Puppet and the Dwarf): everything new is old again. Key Zizekian concepts first (?) articulated here include interpassivity and the subject/object supposed to believe; the desire to abolish contradiction in a rational totality as fascist; antisemitism and jealousy over the unified pleasure of the other; and the other as subject sup ...more
Josh
Jun 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Some interesting kernels contained here and there but buried beneath verbose padding. Some of the points made (the relation of Marxism to the "symptom" for example) are genuinely good (or, at least thoughtful), but whether or not they are worth trawling through the rest is a different question.
Ollie Ford
Dec 23, 2018 rated it did not like it
this is the biggest headache of a book i’ve ever read, but i now finally understand why žižek is the way he is. the og galaxy brain
Jeremy Allan
Jan 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy-etc
It's common knowledge that Zizek is frequently at his best while recounting jokes in order to illustrate a philosophical concept, and the dirtier the jokes the better.

What do I have to add to that? Well a belief that Zizek is simply at his best when he is writing. Lately he has been hitting the streets, giving interviews, talking to anyone who will listen—notably crowds at Zuccotti Park during the Occupy Wall Street protests—to his ideas on capitalism, ideology, and the way forward. His speeche
...more
Nathaniel Perrin
Dec 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Better as a jokebook than as a work of original philosophy
Mack Hayden
Jun 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy, politics
I'll be honest: about a third of this book was totally over my head. Reading this was as frustrating an experience as it was an enjoyable one. If I could do it all over again, I would've read at least a little Lacan before giving this one a go, considering how often he's cited and how impenetrable I found most of his thought. Prior to this, I'd only read Žižek's Violence, which is much more user-friendly. This is an outright philosophy / critical theory text and, while there are moments of his t ...more
Víctor Galán
Jul 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
En este ensayo el famoso filósofo Slavoj Zizek diserta sobre numerosos temas relacionados con Kant, Hegel, Marx, Lacan y en menor medida Foucault, Kafka, Hitchcock, Freud, etc.
La asombrosa capacidad de su autor para unir elementos aparentemente dispares entre sí parece confirmar al postestructuralismo como la corriente filosófica a seguir en el futuro, al menos en lo que se refiere con el enlazamiento de ideas entre el psicoanálisis, la filosofía política y la sociología.
No es un libro fácil de
...more
Bradley
Sep 27, 2008 rated it liked it
The Title of this book should've been -
"Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here"

Read the first ten pages then I realized that I had more important things to do. Having nails driven into my testicles would've been more fulfilling than reading this self-indulgent huckster. Unless you are getting a PH.D in Comparative Literature and you have two spare weeks to devote to this trash, move on. I guarantee that you'll be more confused after reading this, you'll probably have an anxiety attack, and you'll
...more
Julian Mathews
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lost, psychoanalysis
Essentially the one book Zizek has written. Everything else has to some extant been a variation.
Niklas Braun
Aug 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lots of cool concepts in this book. Unfortunately I am not learned enough to understand most of them. For most of the time I felt like my dog staring at me in amazement just for existing.

However, bits of it came through. I feel like I need to read his more introductory works, like How to Read Lacan.
Wajih Hammouda
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So random yet fun to read because of Zizek's unique approach.
Must be read more than once to grasp the whole of it though.

EDIT: read it again and I was startled by how much I missed. Definitely deserves 5 stars.
Killian Beck
Jul 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy, marxism
On page 157, Žižek writes,
The punk imitating the sadomasochistic power ritual is not to be conceived as a case of the victim's identification with the aggressor. The message to the power structure is, on the contrary, the negation implied in the positive act of imitation: You are so powerful, but for all that, you are impotent. You cannot really hurt me! In this way the power structure is caught in the same trap. The more violent its reaction, the more it confirms its fundamental impotence

When I
...more
Zach
May 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was my first time reading one of Zizek's major works, I definitely enjoyed it. It really helps to have some knowledge of Lacanian psychoanalysis beforehand: first of all, so that you can have a greater understanding of some of the basic concepts he uses and the framework he's using them in and, second of all, so that you can distinguish when he's being Lacanian from when he's being Zizekian using Lacanian terminology. The same is true for his use of Hegel, making me wish that I had a greate ...more
Jared Colley
May 17, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anti-postmodernist, crazy people
One of Zizek's first major works. How does one classify this guy: philosopher, critic, genius, charlatan, enlightened, fascist, clown....? All these probably fit for him at some moment in his charged career as rockstar intellectual. This first work is more tame than his later stuff....In fact, I think I like this Zizek more than the later one. There is great discussion here of Politics, Philosophy, Ideology, Psychoanalysis, & Pop Culture, and it all seems to fit into a pretty consistent syst ...more
Vladimir
Apr 08, 2013 rated it liked it
I don't find it as hard to read as other reviewers, nor do I find it as groundbreaking, but it is Žižek at his most coherent, I think. One other reviewer remarked that his message is simple and "revolutionary": the subject must take responsibility for his own subjectivity. Sure, it may be his message, but it surely isn't his idea and at the point of the publication of the book it is not revolutionary either if you have read any psychoanalysis or for that matter anything even remotely related to ...more
Megan
Mar 12, 2009 rated it liked it
Chapter 2 was cool -- bits of Lacanian garble that I struggled to make sense of, but I loved the literary and real-world examples Zizek uses to make his points: Pride & Prejudice, Sci-Fi, Julius Caesar, the Titanic, et al. After I finished this reading I dreamt that I time-traveled into the future, which is to say it had an impact on me.

I like the idea that acceptance and necessity (change?) comes about through mis-recognition. I'm torn between 3 and 4 stars....
Katie
Sep 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A must read for understanding not only political and economic systems, but also for understanding interpersonal relationships. So many problems could be either avoided or dealt with effectively if more people read and understood these theories.
Jamie Rawlings
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
peng
Adam
Nov 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: durcharbeiten
That people find Zizek incomprehensible I find incomprehensible. Hegel/Lacan 2016!!
Peter Jana
What follows is part review and part reading notes as I try to think through the jargon and the complex ideas.

The Sublime Object of Ideology is Zizek’s first book translated into English and contains the core ideas that are found in much of his latter work. His analysis of ideology draws from Marx and Althusser, but his use of Lacanian psychoanalysis draws different conclusions. For Zizek, ideology does not mask a given reality; it creates reality through unconscious processes. “Behind the curt
...more
Alberto
Introduzca en la batidora todo el psicoanálisis de Lacan, mucho Hegel, una pizca de Kant y de Marx para ponernos en antecedentes, y alguna que otra referencia molona (que si Sade, que si Walter Benjamin, que si Laclau y Mouffe), apriete el botón y deje que los ingredientes se mezclen bien. Sírvase acompañado de alguna que otro chiste, para hacer un poco más tragable el resultado.
Eso sí, la digestión será pesada.

Llevo leyendo este libro a pequeños sorbos (por seguir con la metáfora) desde veran
...more
Greg
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I may have honestly understood less than half of what Zizek meant to convey, but the analyses proposed were nonetheless super stimulating - I could hardly put the book down. Zizek outlines the goal of his analysis right at the beginning of the book, where he begins to synthesize Hegel's historical materialism and Lacan's psychoanalysis (neither of which I am particularly familiar with). The most digestible parts of the book are where Zizek explains Lacanian concepts via jokes or movie references ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Trying to find a book... 1 12 Jan 10, 2015 12:40PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • German Ideology
  • For Marx
  • Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil
  • The Lacanian Subject: Between Language and Jouissance
  • Écrits
  • The Accursed Share: An Essay on General Economy, Volume I: Consumption
  • Contingency, Hegemony, Universality: Contemporary Dialogues on the Left
  • Slavoj Žižek
  • Specters of Marx
  • Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia
  • Aesthetics and Politics
  • Late Marxism: Adorno, or, The Persistence of the Dialectic
  • Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari: Intersecting Lives
  • Libidinal Economy
See similar books…
3,221 followers
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
“Σε ένα σύμπαν όπου όλοι αναζητάμε το αληθινό πρόσωπο κάτω από το προσωπείο, ο καλύτερος τρόπος να παραπλανήσουμε είναι να φορέσουμε το προσωπείο της ίδιας της αλήθειας” 1 likes
“Money is precisely an object whose status depends on how we 'think' about it: if people no longer treat this piece of metal as money, if they no longer 'believe' in it as money, it no longer is money.” 0 likes
More quotes…