At the Level of a Bug Circling a Light

April 12, 2008

When I first spoke to ‘the thing’ about starting this reading group, I had mentioned to him that I also wanted to turn it into some sort of research group as well. The particular form of ‘research’ I was thinking of to begin with was a catalogue of the examples the Zizek uses and where they can be found – the point was twofold: 1) It would be a ‘database’ to turn to when you could only remember the example and not what he was talking about; and more importantly, 2) it would allow us to track how examples are used differently over time:

A materialist… tends to repeat one example, returning to it obsessively. It is the particular example that remains the same in all symbolic universes, while the universal notion it is supposed to exemplify continually changes its shape, so we get a multitude of universal notions circling like bugs around the light, around the single example” (“Schalgend, aber…”, 200).

When I first use an example, I am usually too stupid to understand fully its implications – I am not yet at the level of this example. It’s only in the next book, or even later, when I return to the same example that I fully develop its potential (Conversations With Zizek, 43).

I was thinking about this last night and it occurred to me that this blog would be a good place to do this – my original problem with the idea was the logistics of having more than one person doing it at a time without having several different version of the same file floating around. Doing it on the site, everyone is editing the same piece.

I don’t suggest that people just start writing up every example you find – that would be backbreaking, undoable. Instead, I figure the best way to do it is to write up an example when you see it for a second, third, fourth time. I’ve put an example of how we might organize it on the new page called ‘Circling a light’ (see tab).

I think full citations (minus the author) are the best way to go – that way we can be sure of knowing what edition things are in.

It might also be useful to include several pages from the same piece, if the example re-occurs… but maybe that’s too much. We’ll see how far this gets


PS: To add to the page, just log-in, go to the page and click ‘edit’.


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