In this paper I consider Walter Benjamin's final essay, “On the Concept of History,” and Slavoj Žižek's recent essay on political messianism, The Puppet and the Dwarf, in order to emphasize the import of revolutionary politics to both writers. I critique Žižek's implicit condemnation of Benjamin's futuristic messianism by showing how the author of “On the Concept of History” was already materialistic prior to the Slovene's psychoanalytic correction. Apart from this critique of The Puppet and the Dwarf, I also rely on Žižek's thesis to uncover the revolutionary materialism of Benjamin's work. In this respect I seek to follow Žižek's own strategy of philosophical buggery to redeem the profane materialism, or real, of Benjamin's thought from those who would seek to relate his work to current liberal theories of delay and deferral.
The Redemption of the Real
MARK FEATHERSTONE IS LECTURER IN SOCIOLOGY AT KEELE UNIVERSITY. HIS AREAS OF EXPERTISE ARE POSTMODERNISM, CRITICAL THEORY, AND PSYCHOANALYSIS.HIS CURRENT WORK REVOLVES AROUND THE STUDY OF UTOPIAS, DYSTOPIAS, AND THE IDEA OF TOTALITARIANISM IN SOCIAL AND POLITICAL THEORY.
Mark Featherstone; The Redemption of the Real. Cultural Politics 1 November 2005; 1 (3): 295–316. doi: https://doi.org/10.2752/174321905778054719
Download citation file: