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Violence: Six Sideways Reflections

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  3,279 ratings  ·  232 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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3.88  · 
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 ·  3,279 ratings  ·  232 reviews

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Jul 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 rated it really liked it
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
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
I've read something like 16 Zizek books at this point. So this Itty Bitty Book served as a nice trip down memory lane. It's not all here by a long shot, but a lot of it is ; in it's shortened form.

And I'll be honest with you. Really up front. The little thing about subjective vs objective violence? Makes it pretty clear why the Z=Man said he'd vote for Trump. He really does believe (and shouldn't you? and don't you?) that it is the objective violence underlying and enabling the smooth functioni
Marzieh rasouli
May 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Žižekas, aišku, yra biškį išprotėjęs, bet vis tiek vienas įdomiausių šiuolaikinės popkultūros komentatorių. Kai iškyla koks klausimas ar įtampa, jisai renkasi tą kelią, kaip maždaug buvo pavaizduota jo filme "Pervert's guide to the cinema", kur "Matricos" scenoje yra siūlomos raudona ir mėlyna tabletės, o Žižekas sako: "Kur trečia tabletė? Aš noriu trečios tabletės."

Kelios citatos:

Kai suvokiame ką nors kaip smurto aktą, mes vertiname jį pagal tai, ką laikome "normalia" situacija be smurto. Toki
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
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a classy book. The book, as the name suggests is a study of violence but a massively intellectual look on things and often zizek puts a new spin on what you may consider to be themes which are quite pertinent at the moment. One of his key points is that there is something alluring about violence, that head for a head mentality which stops individuals from really thinking about what the right thing really is to do. Zizek is clearly more left of centre inclined and has huge gripes with the gl ...more
Jan 04, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
Mar 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.

David Sarkies
Apr 01, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Why We Fight
2 April 2017

I must be starting to get a bit tired of Zizek, not because he isn't a bad writer, nor because he isn't confronting, but rather because, as another reviewer suggested, it has more to do with the law of diminishing returns than anything else. There was a time when I thought that I should read everything by an author that I loved (or admired) until I discovered that not everything that a great author writes is actually any good. In fact, like everything else, pretty much a
Justin Evans
Dec 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: philosophy
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
Benoit Lelièvre
Feb 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Zizek's main appeal and problem is that he's an idiosyncratic thinker and he's incapable of making his point without referring to pop culture. But it's what we love about him, right? His capacity of making us understand difficult things through what we know and love. Zizek is trying his damnedest not to do that here. This is very academic and while I've enjoyed his railing on invisible, systematic violence we all revel in (his passages on charity and philanthropy were absolutely scathing), but h ...more
Robert Wechsler
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This is the first book by the prolific Slavoj Žižek that I have read. The most valuable aspect of his writing appears to be its provocation of thought. Žižek’s examples are often questionable, his arguments sometimes off the wall and the train of his thought off the tracks, but he has a brilliance that keeps making you think about things you haven’t thought about before, or at least not in a particular way.

This book is not about violence really, but then again, it's about a different sort of vio
Safa' Dalal
Oct 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"إن العنف ليس صفة مميزة لأفعال معينة، بل هو موزع بين أفعال وسياقاتها، بين النشاط وعدم النشاط، وبين الحركة والجمود، إن من شأن الفعل نفسه أن يعد عنيفا أو غير عنيف تبعا للسياق؛ أحيانا ربما تكون ابتسامة لبقة أشد عنفا من سورة غضب قاسية."

العنف لا يقتصر على ما درج في مخنا من صورة نمطية له حيث هناك أحدهم يقدم على ايذاء شخص ما أو يشتمه باسوأ ما يكون أو على شاكلة هذا الفعل من أمور، والكتاب يتحدث عن العنف بوجوهه الأخرى التي نستجيب لها وتحرك كل ما فينا من عنف كامن أو نتعرض لها ونشعر باذلال العنف ولكننا لا ن
Elham Zakeri
این کتاب، خشونت را به دوگونه خشونت فعالانه و خشونت منفعلانه دستهبندی میکند. خشونت منفعلانه سطح دیگری از خشونت است که آشکارا به چشم نمیآید، خشونتهای سیستمی و خشونت نمادین (بواسطه زبان)، در این دسته میگنجند.
به عبارت دیگر، این کتاب، مبدایی که به کمک آن خشونت، مورد شناسایی قرار می گیرد را زیر سوال میبرد. سطح صفری که ما به عنوان سطح صفر خشونت، جایی که خشونت وجود ندارد، میشناسیم، در واقع سطح صفر نیست، بلکه جایی است که خشونت منفعلانه و پنهان در آن سربرمیآورند و کمتر اعتراض کسی را برمیانگیزانند.
Sep 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
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
Jan 15, 2009 rated it liked it
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?

David Bjelland
Short version: a digressive, willfully obscure little book that offers plenty in the way of intellectual pyrotechnics but not much to say on making the world a less horrible place.

Very, very long version:

So, I might need to start with some quick backstory on how a well-intentioned search for a cogent leftist articulation of "structural violence" led to this.

A couple months ago, I finished Stephen Pinker's The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, and based on the amount of tim
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
Mack Hayden
Jan 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics, philosophy
This is the first Žižek book I've read and it's nice to say the hype surrounding this guy is valid. In under three hundred pages, he spells out a lot of what keeps violence going century after century with intelligence, astute cultural references and good humor. His analysis of behind-the-scenes objective and systemic violence creating the more subjective explosions of violence we all react to is, in my estimation, spot on. There are so many broader forces of injustice that dangerously register ...more
Mar 09, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Jun 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: samizdat, theory
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.
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
David Rush
Feb 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
This review is a bit of a confessional since I think the major failing of this book is me reading it, sorry about that.

However, 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 to this book because I could never get past Žižek's colorful quirks to get a feel for his grand scheme of society
Stephanie Berbec
Apr 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, philosophy
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
Macarena V.
Puede que las dos estrellas no sean muy legítimas porque mi nula base en filosofía me ha incapacitado para aprovechar la lectura de este libro, amén de que me había figurado que podría reflexionar sobre la violencia sin subordinar cada planteamiento a una referencia política/religiosa/filosófica específica que en la mayoría de los casos desconocía.

Total: que si estás puesto en filosofía e historia palante, si no es el caso y además no tienes ganas de que te destroce el final de unas cuantas pel
Ibrahim Niftiyev
Usually, I learn new things from Zizek and this time was not an exception. However, I would say, I did not enjoy this reading because of his incoherent and scattered English. Some parts of the book are not in line with the main idea of the book which is the types and patterns of the violence in our world. So, a lot of speculations in his argumentations but normal for philosophers.
Grzegorz Pietruszynski
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Książka mądra, ważna i potrzebna. Jeśli chcielibyście poddać się głębszej refleksji nad tym gdzie szukać przyczyn wybuchów gwałtownej, często irracjonalnej przemocy to bardzo polecam.

"Ukryta przemoc to fundament naszej normalności. Według Žižka, jeśli zdamy sobie z tego sprawę, będziemy umieli wytłumaczyć, skąd biorą się erupcje niepowstrzymanej agresji. Ale czy gdy to zrozumiemy, naprawdę będziemy spać spokojniej?"

Dodam jeszcze zdanie wieńczące książkę (trochę wyjęte z kontekstu, ale zrozumieci
Feb 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Más Zizek. Autoplagios por doquier, mil conceptos y palabras raras para no decir demasiado. Sin embargo después tira alguna frase que hace que todo el libro valga la pena. Es además muy provocador, hay que estar bien parado para seguirle la discusión. Pareciera tener argumentos hasta para lo que a priori parece injustificable. Te lleva a pensar todo el tiempo en el doble sentido, en el trasfondo psicológico de lo que ves y escuchas. Como siempre, mucho Lacan, Freud, Hegel, Heidegger, Kierkegaard ...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
“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!»” 126 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.” 92 likes
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