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Zizek and Communist Strategy

On the Disavowed Foundations of Global Capitalism

Chris McMillan

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Žižek's communism: revolutionary terror or Utopian jouissance?

Good theory; bad politics – this is how Žižek's works have been described. Now Chris McMillan argues that Žižek's reading of global capitalism could reinvent political subversion. He highlights the political consequences of Žižek's fundamental concepts, such as the Lacanian Real, universality and the communist hypothesis. He argues that Žižek's turn to Communism represents the ultimate significance of Žižek's work for the 21st century and a marked new direction for Žižekian theory.

While Žižek's work attracts a lot of labels, most of them pejorative - communist, conservative, anti-semantic - Chris McMillan identifies Žižek's unique and productive contribution to social and political theory, constructing his work as a response to the difficulties of contemporary social theory and the political deadlock of global capitalism.

Key Features

  • Summarises key applications of psychoanalytic theory to politics and shared social life
  • Produces a sustained reading of Žižek's understanding of the economy and capitalism
  • Contextualises Žižek's in relation to the difficulties of contemporary social theory and the political deadlock of global capitalism
  • Responds to Žižek's recent reference to the communist hypothesis and 'egalitarian justice'


1. Introduction
2. Marxism after the Discursive Turn
3. Jouissance and Politics
4. Universality and the Trauma of the Real
5. Žižek’s Capitalism: What Can Sexual Difference Tell Us about New Forms of Apartheid?
6. Žižek’s Realpolitics
7. The Communist Hypothesis: Žižekian Utopia or Utopian Fantasy?
8. Conclusion

About the Author

Chris McMillan currently works at Brunel University in London, having been formerly based at Massey University in New Zealand. He has previously published in the International Journal of Žižek Studies, as well as acting as a guest editor.