Skip to main content

zizek: (phatic) violence -- review

There is a lot of recycled material in this book and a lot that is off the point altogether. So a typical Zizek book. The one idea I found interesting is his explanation of street protests that turn violent, as well as the kind of thing that went on in Paris in 2005, as 'phatic' violence. That is to say, it serves the sole purpose of saying 'I'm here' and 'we're talking'. But Zizek doesn't take it far enough because in fact the phatic requires two interlocutors and its purpose is to keep open the lines of communication. So the obvious point he missed is that the police response is also phatic. By brutalising the protestors, they too are saying 'I'm here' and 'we're talking'. Moreover, if this in fact the case, then this type of protest action will not bring change because it is a routine exchange. -- from a three-star review of Violence, 2009
This is (perhaps) similar to what's going on in Netherlands recently.

Brainstorm: I wonder if this could be connected with Bordieu's symbolic violence, variously:
“the violence which is exercised upon a social agent with his or her complicity”
“[a] term for the imposition on subordinated groups by the dominant class of an ideology which legitimates and naturalizes the status quo: see also dominant ideology”
Certainly a "status quo" seems roughly to be a phatic kind of thing, insofar as it provides a basis for communication.

Here's an abstract that offers an applied look at these issues:
Government policies and financial imperatives have fostered growing heterogeneity in student bodies in UK and Australian higher education (HE), but the underpinning logic of practice in these long-established social fields is far slower to change. Drawing on empirical evidence from case studies in each nation, this paper examines the tensions between the espoused and enacted values of the academy in relation to the widening participation and internationalisation agendas. We describe the research sites, their relationships with their respective fields of power and the experiences of participants as inhabitants of these HE fields. We highlight the struggles to secure relevant capital, acts of symbolic violence occurring at both institutional and programme levels and the resultant impact on individual positions and trajectories within the fields. Finally, we consider the extent to which the established practices in HE, which naturally preserve the dominance of the dominating factions, are likely to shift to enable it to genuinely enact the social conscience it espouses. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Après nous: Élogie De La Démocratie en Amérique

[W]hile the AIDS epidemic affected a real community of mutual support, the heroin epidemic specifically strikes down people whose communities are already gone. -BoingBoing A recent article on the blog More Crows than Eagles: More Coyotes than Wolves gives a name to a new social class: the "unnecessariat".  In one of the follow-up comments, the blog author references William Gibson's (2014) science fiction book, "The Peripheral".  I happen to have read that book so it's a source of interesting images, but in a spoiler-free nutshell, it concerns people who are (apparently) peripheral to the machinations of power, and the ability of those people to project themselves into another frame using a "peripheral" device.  This seems like a good metaphor for the status of the author, who has reached a wide audience with this piece.

The link I've drawn between "Unnecessariat" and the Phatic Workshop lies in the slogan "Silence=Death" …

Phaticity and the social field

As much as I enjoy older sources (1950-1960) in phatic studies, it turns out that later ones (1970-1980) are actually much more thorough and relevant for advancing phatic theories. Since you expressed interest in the topic of "social fields" (i.e. social systems in Ruesch, and "perspectives" in Morris, among several other equivalents), I thought I'd share this one individually, before sending you an updated version of "Not the current year in phatics".

Hörmann, Hans 1979. Psycholinguistics: An Introduction to Research and Theory. New York, etc.: Springer-Verlag.Similar distinguishing characteristics can be noted in looking upon language as response. The speech event produced by an individual A is hardly ever the last link in a stimulus-response chain;[1] it is generally a directed response transmitted from A to B. The linguistic response is produced by A with the intention of making B react. In other words, a verbal response can only be regarded as th…

the social role of humor - Jason P. Steed apropos of Donald J. Trump

See Storify https://storify.com/DemFromCT/jason-p-steed-on-humor-and-humor Here's the info about the PhD thesis he was referring to. Title: Joke-making Jews/jokes making Jews: Essays on humor and identity in American Jewish fiction.
Creator: Jason Paul. Steed
Contributor: Joseph McCullough; University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Subjects: American literature -- 20th century;
Anecdotes; Comedy; Comedians -- United States; Sociology; United States -- Study and teaching; Thesis (PhD)
Is Part Of: 65-08A.
Description: Beginning from the premise that humor plays a prominent role in the construction of group and individual identities, as a social phenomenon and a simultaneously alienating and assimilating force, these essays explore and examine humor and its construction of American Jewish identity within the context of various works of American Jewish fiction. Though organized as "chapters," the essays do not build upon one another progressively, nor do they center on a uni…