Capitalism’s Cynical Leviathan: Cynicism, Totalitarianism, and Hobbes in Modern Capitalist Regulation

Bloom, Peter (2008). Capitalism’s Cynical Leviathan: Cynicism, Totalitarianism, and Hobbes in Modern Capitalist Regulation. International Journal of Žižek Studies, 2(1)

URL: http://zizekstudies.org/index.php/ijzs/article/vie...

Abstract

In this paper I have tried to show the symbiotic relationship between discursive systems of totalitarianism and cynicism. Whether speaking of a social Leviathan a la Hobbes or localized capitalist regulation each relies upon the symbiotic combination of total governance with the positive allowance for internal individual dis-identification. The inherent failures of totalitarian discourses to fully interpellate a subject requires a subjective freedom of thought expressed via an ineffectual cynicism, a point borne witness to in the theoretical work of Zizek. Individuals are thus, either implicitly or explicitly, encouraged to manifest their discontent through a non-active liberty in thought or an “ideology of cynicism” (Zizek: 1989). By providing the space to think resistance these systems are able to legitimately demand and make easier obedience in action. Thus the liberating effect of cynical rebellion is the foundation for an acting compliance.

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