COVID-19 and the Real Impossible

BLACK, Jack (2020). COVID-19 and the Real Impossible. International Journal of Žižek Studies, 14 (2), 1-22.

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This article approaches the COVID-19 pandemic as an inherently antagonistic phenomenon. To do so, it carries forward the philosophical contentions (“revolution”) that Žižek outlines in his Pandemic! COVID-19 Shakes the World, as well as his wider work. With reference to the parallax Real and McGowan’s Hegelian contradiction, it is demonstrated that Žižek’s philosophical premises hold a unique importance in politically confronting COVID-19. Indeed, by drawing specific attention to the various ways in which our confrontations with the Real expose the limitations of our socio-ideological orders, it is argued that it is in these very limitations (which now structure, manage and curtail our social interactions) that the limits of the Real are transposed through the various “fictions” we employ to fight and perceive it. In outlining this confrontation, a focused discussion on the Real as “impossible” – a “characteristic” that affords an important political significance for the present context and its ongoing limitations – is provided. In conclusion, if the COVID-19 pandemic demands a new “commons” (as argued by Žižek), and if our response to the crisis should be one where the desires of the nation-state are regulated and controlled, then, it may not simply be enough that we “demand the impossible”. Instead, it is today that the impossible demands a new “us”.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1608 Sociology; 2005 Literary Studies; 2202 History and Philosophy of Specific Fields
Page Range: 1-22
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2020 11:13
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 00:38

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