A Justice Site
Jonathan Lear and "Knowingness"
California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: July 30, 2001
Latest update: September 3, 2001
Entry by jeanne
Teaching and Review Essay by Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata
Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata, and Individaul Authors: September 2001.
"Fair Use" encouraged.
This essay is based on the fright of real tears: the uses and misues of Lacan in film theory by Zizek, Slavoj. BFI Publishing. 2001.
Zizek argues that Lacan, a French philosopher and psychonalyst who has provided much of the theory for the psychoanalytic turn in present day philosophy and sociology, was read reductively in the 70s and 80s.
Concept: A reductive reading is one that oversimplifies, and in that process of oversimplification, key points are missed which lead to spurious interpretations, that is, interpretations that appear to be correct on the surface, but for which the investigation of further variables would clarify that the originally presumed interpretation is false. (On reductive, be sure to follow the definitions through to reductionism. Also experiment with the sound feature, if you haven't already done so.)
For more on reductive reading, see Jonathan Lear and Open-Minded.
Zizek emphasizes the importance of reinterpreting Lacan to "revitalize film theory, cultural studies, and critical thought." In an appendix, Zizek provides a "discussion of the relationship between Christianity, Gothicism, and 'the progressive digitalisation of our life-world.' " Zizek, like many of the other theorists who are concerned with the major social issues of our life-world, turns his attention to aesthetics, (and so is involved in film theory), to Habermas' and critical theory's approach to the Other, and to psychoanalysis as an approach to understanding beyond "knowing."
Concept: Crossing disciplinary boundaries.
To gain a sense of the extent to which the academy has rejected such broad approaches, turn to Osgood's discussion of "stealing theory." The material on Zizek's new book on film theory is on the Website of karnacbooks.com.
"Slavoj Zizek is senior researcher at the Department of Philosophy, University of Lujubljana" in Slovenia, a Central European democracy. To the north is Austria, to the South, Croatia, to the East, Hungary, to the West, Italy. I don't have the book yet, but will try to find it soon. jeanne
Logarska, a peaceful green valley in Slovenia.
University of Lujubljana, Slovenia.
- How could we conceptually link the concept of dominant discourse to that of reductive reading of social theorists?jeanne's notes:
When we locate social theorists in a particular discipline or school within a discipline, we categorize them, label them. Categorization and labeling are reductive.