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 fig.38—hindsight would be 20/20 but for sand in the eye 


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“Something emerged in ancient Greece under the name of the demos demanding its rights, and, from the very beginning (that is, from Plato’s Republic on) to the recent revival of liberal political philosophy, political philosophy itself was an attempt to suspend the destabilizing potential of the political, to disavow and/or regulate it in one way or another: by bringing about a return to a prepolitical social body, by fixing the rules of political competition, and so forth.

 Points for style: Žižek arcs 2,500 years, from a mythic parable of our democratic striving to a précis of our traumatic repressed­-to-be-returned overdetermination: “There are four main versions of this disavowal:” again, he does much of the work for us, arche­-, para­-, meta­-, and ultrapolitics form a kind of Greimasian logical square...” Points against form: Žižek’s diagram (over) as in the 2006 reprint, frames his argument at a glance—so why was it absent the 1989 publication in Critical Inquiry? Presuming fluency in twentieth­-century structuralism and graphicacy on par with Scholastic rhetoricians, you can follow position papers point by point, as you have some­-where in mind to situate the topics. If not...? Here Žižek’s model is not so much Greimasian as Aristotelian: unlike his fig.34 Semiotic Square, a four­-corner ‘chiasm’ (X-form), he builds the fig.38 Biaxial Plot from the inside­-out: four (qualitative) ADJECTIVES con­-voke four nominal metaterms: TRADITIONALIST . . . ultrapolitics . . . ANTAGONISTIC, etc. In his diagram, the X and Y axes are implicit, despite that his text requires they be made explicit; lacking his diagram, or [our notes], it might be tough to see how “arche­- and ultra­- are the two faces of [+Y:] self­-enclosed community [at +A] versus war of a community against external enemies [at ­-B]; [thus,] para­- and meta­- the two versions of [­-Y:] democratic formal rules [at +B] versus [at ­-A] the notion that [para­-] expresses and/or distorts the [objective] processes at which things really happen. On the other [X] axis, both [­-B, ­-A] involve the notions of unsurpassable struggle, conflict, and antagonism against the assertion of harmonious collaboration [as per +A, +B].” —but how do “faces” (and per­-“versions”) of abstract entities speak? Per Žižek’s text, these four discourses are invoked by e.g., the (Advocates) of fig.38—but how, and through whom do they speak to us here and now? As with figs.36­-37, we must build upward or outward from Žižek’s structural basis.

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