October 18, 2005

Perverse links, totalitarianism, and university discourse Misery continues. Today's dilemma: is Stalinism properly characterized as based on university discourse or the discourse of the pervert? The university discourse is S2 over S1 on the first side, a over $ on the second side; the perverse discursive link (which is the same as the discourse of the analyst) is a over S2 on the first side, and $ over S1 on the second. For they Know Not What They Do (236): when the bureaucratic knowledge loses its support in the Master Signifier (S1) and is 'left to itself,' it runs amok and assumes the features of mischevious neutrality proper to superego. The theoretical point not to be missed here is that the apparently self-evident affinity between Master-Signifier (S1) and superego is misleading: the status of superego is that of a chain of knowledge (S2) and not that of a uniary point of symbolic authority (S1). (235) offers the formula of the totalitarian subject as one side of the discourse of the master: thus, S2 over a. And, this makes sense: the lack of the first side of the Master's discourse is what renders the discourse totalitarian, S2 can run amok. Yet, Zizek also says (234-235) that the Stalinist is a pervert, himself an instrument of the other's will. And, this would suggest, then, a different social link, the discourse of the pervert--not the formula he provides here. To make matters worse, Iraq: The Borrowed Kettle (156): The University discourse as the hegemonic discourse of modernity has two...

Jodi Dean

Jodi Dean is a political theorist.

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