Having read a handful of Zizek's books and articles, you can see that there is a pattern in how he jumps to some general claim after describing an actual situation/joke. Most of the times I feel these examples are extreme rare occurrences. Is there a reason behind this method of writing/speaking? Shouldn't your theories fit the majority of cases (if not all)? Or am I just missing something?

If anyone feels the need for examples of this, I will provide later.


In "Event : Philosophy in transit", He writes about both Buddhism and Christianity. He comes to the conclusion that Buddhism has no ethical core after drawing attention to the fact that there is a legacy of "Buddhist warriors". I agree. But this is only partially true. There were no Crusades in Buddhist history. But on the other hand when he talks about Christianity, he goes to the "source" (More often than not) - Jesus's crucifixion - and deploys his theories around this single event effectively "forgetting" the Crusades, the inquisition, etc despite of its "ethical" core. In short, doesn't he always fix on something partial in a larger whole? Even in phenomena like decaffeinated coffee, charity, etc, isn't it always the exception rather than the rule he focuses on?

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    An example or two would be nice, if you can find one(s) which is/are brief and comprehensible enough. – Rex Kerr Nov 18 '14 at 6:22
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    This might be unanswerable question for a few different reasons... – virmaior Nov 18 '14 at 7:24
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    Without commenting on the veracity of your claim, this reminds me a little of someone reading a non-linear narrative and saying, "First it's 1952, then it's 1984, then it's 1952 again -- doesn't this guy know how to tell a story properly?!?" – selfConceivedAsEvil Nov 18 '14 at 22:24
  • Is your question: "Why does he inappropriately jump to generalization?" or "Is it rhetorically good to start with concrete examples and move to generalizations?" – James Kingsbery Nov 19 '14 at 15:53
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    "Zizek always jump[s] to generalizations" "having read a handful of [his] books and articles". Oh, the irony. – David Richerby Nov 19 '14 at 22:02

"I would like to begin with an almost narcissistic reflection. Why do I resort so often to examples from popular culture? The simple answer is in order to avoid a kind of jargon, and to achieve the greatest possible clarity, not only for my readers but also for myself. That is to say, the idiot for whom I endeavor to formulate a theoretical point as clearly as possible is ultimately myself: I am not patronizing my readers. An example from popular culture has for me the same fundamental role as the Lacanian procedure of the passe - the passage of analysand into the analyst; the same role as the two mediators, the two passeurs. I think it's not an accident that the Lacanian popular quarterly in France, as you probably know, is called L'Âne - the Donkey. The idea is that in a way you must accept a total externalization: you must renounce even the last bit of any kind of initiated closed circuit of knowledge. And precisely this is for me the role of my reference to popular culture. In this full acceptance of the externalization in an imbecilic medium, in this radical refusal of any initiated secrecy, this is how I, at least, understand the Lacanian ethics of finding a proper worth.

I think that the way I refer to popular culture, this necessity that I feel that we must go through this radical, if you want, imbecilic, external medium, is a version of what Lacan, in his last phase at least, referred to as the 'subjective destitution' that is involved in the position of the analyst, of the analyst as occupying the place of the objet petit a. This position, I think, is far more radical and paradoxical than it may appear." -zizek

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    First off, welcome to philosophy.se. This is a good answer. Could you also add a reference as to where you found this quote? (as an aside, I'm not sure I actually trust Zizek's own explanation of why he's doing things but meh). – virmaior Nov 19 '14 at 13:19


the generalizations are the universal notions, the examples are the particulars of the universals, it's part of his hegelian dialectical method,

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    Could you flesh this out a bit? It's not wrong per se, but I don't know if it would help anyone who doesn't already know. – virmaior Nov 22 '14 at 2:28

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