Poeticizing Revolution: Žižek's Misreading of Mao and China

Poeticizing Revolution: Žižek's Misreading of Mao and China Abstract Slavoj Žižek has recently written quite extensively on Mao and China. This article is a commentary on his writings. Tracing the genealogy of Western Marxism from Gramsci, Athusser, and Badiou to Žižek, I argue that Žižek's misreading of the Chinese Revolution, especially Mao's theory and practice, as well as his comments on contemporary China reveal his Eurocentric biases and a habit of aestheticizing or poeticizing revolutionary practice. Žižek's misreading of Mao and China is largely based on abstract theorization, divorced from concrete specificity and historicity. His ultimate pessimism, camouflaged by radical hubris and theatricality, can neither help us further our understanding of China's struggles to modernity, particularly Mao's endeavors for alternatives, nor inspire us for the renewed searches for social change. Žižek's poeticized version of the Chinese Revolution is thus a theatrical parody-travesty of the true revolution, an imaginary rhapsody of “revolution without a revolution.” Žižek's biases further reflect a proclivity among the Western Left to substitute historical and political critique with aesthetic theories and discourse. CiteULike Complore Connotea Delicious Digg Facebook Google+ Reddit Technorati Twitter What's this? « Previous | Next Article » Table of Contents This Article doi: 10.1215/10679847-1369244 positions 2011 Volume 19, Number 3: 627-651 » Abstract Full Text (PDF) Classifications Article Services Email this article to a colleague Alert me when this article is cited Alert me if a correction is posted Similar articles in this journal Similar articles in Web of Science Download to citation manager Citing Articles Load citing article information Citing articles via Web of Science Google Scholar Articles by Kang, L. Related Content Load related web page information Social Bookmarking CiteULike Complore Connotea Delicious Digg Facebook Google+ Reddit Technorati Twitter What's this? Current Issue Winter 2011, 19 (3) Alert me to new issues of positions Duke University Press Journals ONLINE About the Journal Editorial Board Submission Guidelines Permissions Advertising Indexing / Abstracting Privacy Policy Subscriptions Library Resource Center Activation / Acct. Mgr. E-mail Alerts Help Feedback © 2011 by Duke University Press Print ISSN: 1067-9847 Online ISSN: 1527-8271 var gaJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://ssl." : "http://www."); document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src='" + gaJsHost + "google-analytics.com/ga.js' type='text/javascript'%3E%3C/script%3E")); var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker("UA-5666725-1"); pageTracker._trackPageview(); http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png positions asia critique Duke University Press

Poeticizing Revolution: Žižek's Misreading of Mao and China

positions asia critique, Volume 19 (3) – Dec 21, 2011

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Duke Univ Press
ISSN
1067-9847
eISSN
1527-8271
DOI
10.1215/10679847-1369244
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Abstract

Abstract Slavoj Žižek has recently written quite extensively on Mao and China. This article is a commentary on his writings. Tracing the genealogy of Western Marxism from Gramsci, Athusser, and Badiou to Žižek, I argue that Žižek's misreading of the Chinese Revolution, especially Mao's theory and practice, as well as his comments on contemporary China reveal his Eurocentric biases and a habit of aestheticizing or poeticizing revolutionary practice. Žižek's misreading of Mao and China is largely based on abstract theorization, divorced from concrete specificity and historicity. His ultimate pessimism, camouflaged by radical hubris and theatricality, can neither help us further our understanding of China's struggles to modernity, particularly Mao's endeavors for alternatives, nor inspire us for the renewed searches for social change. Žižek's poeticized version of the Chinese Revolution is thus a theatrical parody-travesty of the true revolution, an imaginary rhapsody of “revolution without a revolution.” Žižek's biases further reflect a proclivity among the Western Left to substitute historical and political critique with aesthetic theories and discourse. CiteULike Complore Connotea Delicious Digg Facebook Google+ Reddit Technorati Twitter What's this? « Previous | Next Article » Table of Contents This Article doi: 10.1215/10679847-1369244 positions 2011 Volume 19, Number 3: 627-651 » Abstract Full Text (PDF) Classifications Article Services Email this article to a colleague Alert me when this article is cited Alert me if a correction is posted Similar articles in this journal Similar articles in Web of Science Download to citation manager Citing Articles Load citing article information Citing articles via Web of Science Google Scholar Articles by Kang, L. Related Content Load related web page information Social Bookmarking CiteULike Complore Connotea Delicious Digg Facebook Google+ Reddit Technorati Twitter What's this? Current Issue Winter 2011, 19 (3) Alert me to new issues of positions Duke University Press Journals ONLINE About the Journal Editorial Board Submission Guidelines Permissions Advertising Indexing / Abstracting Privacy Policy Subscriptions Library Resource Center Activation / Acct. Mgr. E-mail Alerts Help Feedback © 2011 by Duke University Press Print ISSN: 1067-9847 Online ISSN: 1527-8271 var gaJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://ssl." : "http://www."); document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src='" + gaJsHost + "google-analytics.com/ga.js' type='text/javascript'%3E%3C/script%3E")); var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker("UA-5666725-1"); pageTracker._trackPageview();

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positions asia critiqueDuke University Press

Published: Dec 21, 2011

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