Authored by: Matthew Sharpe , Kirk Turner

Routledge Handbook of Psychoanalytic Political Theory

Print publication date:  September  2019
Online publication date:  September  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138696310
eBook ISBN: 9781315524771
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter examines Slavoj Žižek’s theorizations of ideological fantasy and its different manifestations or veils (Žižek 1997: 1–35). We begin (Section 1) by recalling the fundamental coordinates of Freud’s, then Lacan’s, conceptions of fantasy, allowing a theoretical lineage to be established that accounts for Žižek’s coaptation and extension of what was originally a clinical term. Section 2 then turns, in this light, to Žižek’s reformulation of fantasy in the context of a post-Marxian theory of ideology. First, we pursue Žižek’s critique of the Marxist notion of false consciousness, by way of his famous analyses of ideological cynicism, and go into his theory of ideological disidentification and the function of ideological fantasy in structuring groups’ quasi-transgressive forms of jouissance. Second, we look at Žižek’s analyses of sublime objects of ideology and the function of ideological fantasy in papering over social antagonism, or the Real, by constructing narratives of the loss or theft of jouissance. As an avenue for future research, we show just how well and powerfully Žižek’s theory allows us to comprehend contemporary right-wing populism as an ideological formation.

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