The Concept of Reality and the Role of the Media in Different Theoretical Perspectives of Terrorism After 9-11.
Slavoj Zizek is a Lacanian-Marxist who uses the psychoanalyst theories of Lacan combined with a Marxist critique of capitalist society to form his own unique social theories. Lacan’s distinction between ‘the Real’, the Symbolic, and the Imaginary, are fundamental to Zizek’s work, especially on the issue of terrorism. Understanding these terms is essential if one is to grasp Zizek’s theories. The three terms each relate to a significant way that we experience the world. The Symbolic (or ‘the big Other’) is the realm of language, and in linguistic terms it is represented by the ‘signifier’. What this means is that the world operates on mostly a symbolic level, because life, our reality, is constructed by words. The Symbolic can be seen as the world of words that creates the world of things. Yet these words, as signifiers, have no
Cited: Baudrillard, Jean. ‘The Spirit of Terrorism’ in The Spirit of Terrorism and Other Essays. London: Verso, 2002. Derrida, Jacques. ‘Autoimmunity: Real and Symbolic Suicides (A Dialogue with Jacques Derrida)’ in Giovanna Borradori, Philosophy in a Time of Terror. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2003. Zizek, Slavoj. Welcome to the Desert of the Real. London: Verso, 2002. ---------------- The Sublime Object of Ideology. London; New York: Verso, 1989. Online sources: ‘Slavoj Zizek’ in The Internet Encyclopaedia on Philosophy <http://www.iep.utm.edu/z/zizek.htm> [accessed 13 June 2008]