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“If at First You don’t Succeed”: Why Žižek Failed in France but Succeeded in England

British Journal of Sociology

Published online on

Abstract

["\nAbstract\nThis article sociologically explains the initial phase of Slavoj Žižek's emergence as global public intellectual. Drawing on positioning theory, the article contributes to previous works on Žižek's performativity by focusing on his contextuality. It examines how his intellectual interventions depended on the context in which they were performed, and on the relations to other intellectuals positioned in that context. The article argues that (1) Žižek's first attempt to intervene internationally was in France; (2) this attempt was a failure; and (3) his second attempt in England was a success. It also demonstrates that vouching is paramount to intellectual positioning: while Jacques‐Alain Miller positioned Žižek along practico‐clinical lines in the French context, Ernesto Laclau positioned Žižek along politico‐philosophical lines in the English context. Consequently, the latter positioning facilitated a public resonance that would lead to Žižek's global success.\n", "The British Journal of Sociology, EarlyView. "]