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A Heroism of the Decision, a Politics of the Event

Simon Critchley: Alain Badiou, 20 September 2007

by Alain Badiou, translated by Steven Corcoran.
Verso, 339 pp., £17.99, November 2006, 1 84467 089 9
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... way that allows us to believe another world is possible, however difficult it would be to achieve. Alain Badiou is a Platonist, and it is important to keep this in mind when reading the political writings assembled in Polemics. This substantial and well-translated collection, comprising the three volumes of Circonstances published in French between 2003 ...


Slavoj Žižek: Sinicisation , 16 July 2015

... When​ Alain Badiou claims that democracy is our fetish, this statement is to be taken in the precise Freudian sense, not just to mean that we elevate democracy into an untouchable Absolute. ‘Democracy’ is the last thing we see before confronting the ‘lack’ constitutive of the social field, the fact that ‘there is no class relationship,’ the trauma of social antagonism ...


Rachel Kushner: Bad Captains, 22 January 2015

... froth of its glorious wake. The ship is the dream, the passengers its dreamers. In one scene, Alain Badiou gives a talk on Husserl and geometry to an empty lecture hall on the ship, as if Badiou, too, is dreaming: the philosopher who doesn’t notice that there is no audience (or who understands that he is awake ...

Shoplifters of the World Unite

Slavoj Žižek, 25 August 2011

... of choice when the only choice is between playing by the rules and (self-)destructive violence? Alain Badiou has argued that we live in a social space which is increasingly experienced as ‘worldless’: in such a space, the only form protest can take is meaningless violence. Perhaps this is one of the main dangers of capitalism: although by virtue of ...

Berlusconi in Tehran

Slavoj Žižek: The Rome-Tehran Axis, 23 July 2009

... they do not really hold the power, and ask us to decide freely if we want to grant it to them. Alain Badiou has proposed a distinction between two types (or rather levels) of corruption in democracy: the first, empirical corruption, is what we usually understand by the term, but the second pertains to the form of democracy per se, and the way it ...

Not Just Anybody

Terry Eagleton: ‘The Limits of Critique’, 5 January 2017

The Limits of Critique 
by Rita Felski.
Chicago, 238 pp., £17, October 2015, 978 0 226 29403 2
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... who can be too positive about ordinary human capabilities, and others like Michel Foucault, Alain Badiou and the later Frankfurt School who are a good deal too sceptical of them. This is​ a bold book, not least because Felski must know that it risks giving comfort to the adversaries of theory as such. Yet it is judicious as well as brave. It is ...

Presence of Mind

Michael Wood: Barthes, 19 November 2009

Carnets du voyage en Chine 
by Roland Barthes.
Christian Bourgois, 252 pp., €23, February 2009, 978 2 267 02019 9
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Journal de deuil 
by Roland Barthes.
Seuil/Imec, 271 pp., €18.90, February 2009, 978 2 02 098951 0
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... believe the true left has risen in the East. Well, some were ready and others were almost ready. Alain Badiou speaks of the Maoism of the gauche prolétarienne as ‘a superficial crust’, an infatuation with an ‘aura of activism’, and suggests these short-term Maoists didn’t understand the requirements of the long haul. But the Carnets describe ...

Kettles boil, classes struggle

Terry Eagleton: Lukács recants, 20 February 2003

A Defence of ‘History and Class Consciousness’: Tailism and the Dialectic 
by Georg Lukács, translated by Esther Leslie.
Verso, 182 pp., £10, June 2002, 1 85984 370 0
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... like an existentialist than a materialist. His Lukács is an exotic mixture of Jacques Lacan and Alain Badiou, a thinker who breaks with evolutionism for the ‘radical contingency’ of the revolutionary act. If Rees risks taking the novelty out of Lukács, Žižek makes him sound more like an avant-garde Parisian than a Hungarian Communist. Rees is ...

Revolution must strike twice

Slavoj Žižek: Lenin’s Breakthrough, 25 July 2002

by Hélène Carrère d'Encausse, translated by George Holoch.
Holmes & Meier, 371 pp., £35, November 2001, 0 8419 1412 5
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... what made Lenin the politician of the 20th century – the century of the passion of the Real. As Alain Badiou has said, whereas the 19th century was characterised by utopian or ‘scientific’ projects and ideals which were to be fulfilled in the future, the 20th aimed at delivering the thing itself, at realising the longed-for New Order. The ultimate ...

First Impressions

Fredric Jameson: Slavoj Žižek’s Paradoxes, 7 September 2006

The Parallax View 
by Slavoj Žižek.
MIT, 434 pp., £16.95, March 2006, 0 262 24051 3
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... of theory’ and prevents it from coming together in some satisfying philosophical system. Alain Badiou has recently coined the expression ‘anti-philosophy’ for these new and constitutively scandalous modes of intervening conceptually in the world; it is a term that Žižek has been very willing to revindicate for himself. Still, what can be ...

Episteme, My Arse

Christopher Tayler: Laurent Binet, 15 June 2017

The Seventh Function of Language 
by Laurent Binet, translated by Sam Taylor.
Harvill Secker, 390 pp., £16.99, May 2017, 978 1 910701 58 4
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... as he does throughout the novel – indicate that he does. Who? ‘The Stalinists! The fascists! Alain Badiou! Gilles Deleuze! Pierre Bourdieu! Cornelius Castoriadis! … Um, Hélène Cixous!’ Bayard writes these names down in his notebook, but they’re no more help than what he’s told by Foucault, to whom he pays a visit at the Collège de ...

Desire Was Everywhere

Adam Shatz, 16 December 2010

Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari: Intersecting Lives 
by François Dosse, translated by Deborah Glassman.
Columbia, 651 pp., £26, August 2010, 978 0 231 14560 2
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... Lacan passed him over as successor at the Freudian School in favour of his son-in-law, Jacques-Alain Miller, the ringleader of a Parisian cell of Maoist psychoanalysts.Guattari had great plans to write, but he could never sit still, especially with all the distractions which life at La Borde presented. His soixante-huitard friends (La Borde’s ...

Everybody’s Joan

Marina Warner, 6 December 2012

... successfully than one might wish. In 1997, a powerful group of writers, including the philosopher Alain Badiou and the political theorist Alain Finkielkraut, assembled in the Théâtre de l’Odéon in Paris to rescue Joan’s memory from the grip of these propagandists, chiefly by recourse to the poet who put the case ...

Just don’t think about it

Benjamin Kunkel: Boris Groys, 8 August 2013

Introduction to Antiphilosophy 
by Boris Groys.
Verso, 248 pp., £16.99, April 2012, 978 1 84467 756 6
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... Postscript (2010) joins the efforts of other contemporary thinkers, notably Slavoj Žižek and Alain Badiou, to revive communism as a slogan of the left. The differences go further. Where Adorno insisted on the artist’s deep passivity and independence from politics, Groys declares the artistic impulse identical to the will to power and advocates an ...

Against Passion

James Meek: Passionate Politics, 30 November 2017

The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics 
by Mark Lilla.
Harper, 160 pp., £19, August 2017, 978 0 06 269743 1
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The Shipwrecked Mind: On Political Reaction 
by Mark Lilla.
NYRB, 166 pp., £9.99, September 2016, 978 1 59017 902 4
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... same reasons, Schmitt has also been useful to certain thinkers on the left – Derrida, Kojève, Alain Badiou, Jacob Taubes and, more recently, Slavoj Žižek. Schmitt’s appeal at this end of the spectrum is his evocation of a force that smashes the liberal façade of the dominant class, his endorsement of the virtue of antagonism when there is a ...

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