Thus, beyond iconoclastic violence, the post-revolutionary moment is often also one of co-opting heritage in order to reconstruct and enshrine a selective version of the past and its link with the present and future.
Review: First as Tragedy, Then as Farce | New Compass
This research seminar will explore the unique and complex relationship between cultural heritage and revolutions, two concepts with seemingly opposed temporal connotations. Our aim is to examine the shifting conditions of heritage production in revolutionary moments and their aftermaths, focusing on three key dynamics:.
- First As Tragedy, Then As Farce by Slavoj Žižek | Book review | Books | The Guardian.
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The revolutionary attempt to break with the past and its material remains, including the outcomes of this process in postrevolutionary heritage theory and practice. The commonalities and differences across a variety of revolutionary processes in terms of their attitudes to cultural heritage, focusing on the theoretical grounds underpinning revolutionary and post-revolutionary heritage discourses and practices.
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By exploring the relationship between cultural heritage and revolution, this seminar will contribute to the expanding body of work in Critical Heritage Studies by going beyond the specific case studies to search for the underlying theoretical and practical logics of the tense dialectic between heritage and revolutionary processes. Heritage and Revolution: First as Tragedy, then as Farce? Nothing new here.
However, the book evolves into a startling defense of radical leftism by virtue of its many fresh examples and observations. Relying far less than usual on Lacan and Hegel, Zizek instead tackles his subject head-on and with very few resorts to the by now tacky Zizekian reference to pop culture.
Anything, that is, to kill the hegemonic power of capital.
Heritage and Revolution: First as Tragedy, then as Farce?
Any political system that accepts the basic tenets of capitalism, such as socialism, is to be attacked more viciously than the right, because it poses a greater threat to communism. Zizek is remarkably unsentimental and uncondescending towards the third world, and this is a rare quality.
At the same time, he presents interesting evidence that the West has far too great an influence on the rest of the world. He does this not out of moral outrage, but, one suspects, out of annoyance and impatience — and this lends a genuine feel to his writing that is lacking in the work of many other cultural theorists.
First as tragedy, then as farce
And he is no doubt right. In giving such concrete examples, he lets us see for ourselves the effect we have on faraway nations. It is this that makes First as Tragedy a compelling little book. As Zizek himself is obviously aware, too much abstraction is a turnoff to the lay reader. First as Tragedy will no doubt rank as minor Zizek in years to come, being so topical and, relatively speaking, relying so little on theory, but it strikes a harmonious balance between high philosphy and approachable social commentary.