‘The Fool’ Revisited: The Making of Žižek as Sacrificial Public Intellectual
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Bar-El, E., & Baert, P. (2021). ‘The Fool’ Revisited: The Making of Žižek as Sacrificial Public Intellectual. Cultural Sociology, 15 (4), 539-557. https://doi.org/10.1177/17499755211007243
This article provides a sociological explanation for the global emergence of Slavoj Žižek as a public intellectual. It presents an integrative account encompassing both personal and institutional aspects. Drawing on positioning theory and performative frameworks, the article contributes to the sociology of intellectuals, as well as to the vast ‘Žižek-literature’ that focuses on his philosophical content or political activities. We analyse the distinctiveness of Žižek’s performances, arguing that Žižek acts as a ‘sacrificial intellectual’: he plays ‘the fool’ and relies on irony to undermine the traditional role of the authoritative intellectual. Within the context of the digital public sphere and declining intellectual authority, Žižek’s unique form of positioning has been particularly effective and has contributed to his celebrity status.
Articles, celebrity, performativity, positioning theory, public intellectual, sociology of intellectuals, Žižek
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/17499755211007243
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/330897
Embargo: ends 2021-05-02