Casting Žižek: Manliness as a Masquerade

By Katerina Kolozova and Suzana Milevska.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper looks at the phenomenon of "becoming celebrity" of the Slovenian psychoanalytical theorist Slavoj Žižek. It discusses the gap between representation and meaning in two recent films casting Žižek as himself: “Žižek!,” 2005, by Astra Taylor, and “The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema,” 2006, by Sophie Fiennes. Both semi-documentaries feature Žižek as the main protagonist. He “acts out” his addiction to analyse everything: films, jokes, communism, male/female relationships, “even homosexuals if you like.” Absolutely everything is submitted to his psychoanalytical magnifying glass that enlarges the hidden mechanisms of human desire in order to “make the things clear.” However, we want to argue that if Žižek is read with the “white, male, ex-Yugoslav and (ex-) Balkan Žižek” he becomes a symptom of his own arguments. The deconstruction of Žižek’s statements is a methodological detour to the testimonial narrative of “Žižek the man-author” as we knew him in our ex-Yugoslav (and Balkan) context. It is an attempt to read the discourse that holds the position of “imperial” authority endowed by the global centers of academic power in the humanities by applying the politics of location shared by both presenters and Slavoj Žižek. In his public and political actions will not only is his body stripped off clothes but also his ideas are stripped off any consistency while hijacking the feminist discourse. This paper addresses the question: Is not the over-exposed renowned philosopher turned into a mask/epitome of the Balkan male subjectivity conceptualized as a kind of stereotypical "real" manliness?

Keywords: Film, Deconstruction, Feminist Philosophy, Psychoanalysis, Manliness

The International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 8, pp.157-164. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 542.277KB).

Dr. Katerina Kolozova

Scientific Director, Research Center in Gender Studies, "Euro-Balkan" Institute, Skopje, Macedonia

Katerina Kolozova (b. 1969) holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and is Associate Professor of Gender Studies at the University of Skopje. She edited a number of books in the fields of gender studies and feminist theory, among which the latest in co-authorship with Svetlana Slapshak and Jelisaveta Blagojevic: Gender and Identity: Theories from/on Southeastern Europe, Belgrade: Belgrade Women’s Studies and Gender Research Center and Athena Network, 2006 (in English). She is the author of The Real and “I”: On the Limit and the Self (in English). Currently she is the Scientific Director of “Euro-Balkan” Institute and the Director of its Research Center in Gender Studies where she organised several regional curriculum development and excellence in teaching summer programmes in gender studies.

Dr. Suzana Milevska

Director, Visual and Cultural Research Centre, "Euro-Balkan" Institute, Skopje, Macedonia, Skopje, Macedonia

Suzana Milevska (b. 1961) is a Lecturer in Visual Culture and the Director of the Visual and Cultural Research Centre of the "Euro-Balkan" Institute. She holds a Ph.D. from the Visual Cultures Department at Goldsmiths College – University of London. She was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar (2004) and P. Getty Curatorial Research Fellow (2001). Her academic interests include visual culture, photography and film theory, gender and psychoanalysis. Her texts about the construction of national identity and gender difference in arts and visual culture of the Balkans have been included in many publications: Primary Documents - A Sourcebook for Eastern and Central European Art since the 1950s (New York: MoMA, 2002); East Art Map, edited by IRWIN (London: Afterall, 2006); Is Art History Global, edited by James Elkins, (New York: Routledge, 2006); Conversations with Gayatri Chakravorti Spivak (London: Seagull Books, 2007).

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