Butler, Rex (2014). Subject. In Rex Butler (Ed.), The Žižek Dictionary (pp. 238-241) Durham, UK: Acumen Publishing.

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Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
Author Butler, Rex
Title of chapter Subject
Title of book The Žižek Dictionary
Place of Publication Durham, UK
Publisher Acumen Publishing
Publication Year 2014
Sub-type Research book chapter (original research)
Open Access Status
ISBN 9781844655814
Editor Rex Butler
Chapter number 53
Start page 238
End page 241
Total pages 4
Total chapters 62
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
In his recently published Less Than Nothing, Žižek analyses a well-known joke from American sitcoms. It involves one of the characters looking at a car being towed away and laughing, until they realize that it is actually their car. It is a "joke" repeated every time we catch an unfamiliar glimpse of ourselves in the bathroom mirror and are horrified before we remember it is us. In both cases, says Žižek, we do not recognize ourselves, but we are this misrecognition. It is in this delay between seeing and recognizing that the subject is experienced in its purest form and even in which the subject comes about. As Žižek writes: "The Lacanian thesis is that this delay is structural: there is no direct self-acquaintance; the self is empty" (LN: 145). The title Less Than Nothing is meant to refer to what allows appearance, but it can also be seen to refer to the subject. The "subject" is not "something" - some substantive, intact, really existing entity - but neither is it "nothing': It is, rather, at once "more than something'; that for which appearance stands in, and "less than nothing'; able to be seen only through appearance. The self is "less than nothing" in so far as we are unable to match it with itself, in so far as what the experience of the subject reveals is not nothing but an endless drive towards nothing, "an obstinate repetitive fixation on a contingent object that subtracts the subject from its direct immersion in reality" (LN: 496)...
Q-Index Code B1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Hardcover ISBN is misallocated/misprinted as 9781844655814 (should be 9781844655816).

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Created: Mon, 14 Apr 2014, 11:26:19 EST by Ms Stormy Wehi on behalf of School of Communication and Arts