Preferring Zizek's Bartleby Politics

Timothy Bryar


Zizek's battle cry to 'do nothing', or what is termed Bartleby politics, has been met with much criticism. At best, it seems, his Bartleby politics simply enables us to see the limits of society, and at worst, it leaves us in a state of impotent passivity. This article takes a position of preferring Bartleby politics. This paper reflects on Žižek’s Bartleby politics. It starts with briefly outlining the basic tenets of Bartleby politic, including concepts of the superego, enjoyment and the Act. Next the paper examines different reactions to Žižek’s Bartleby politics, and how these help us to further think about the concept. The paper concludes with some reflections on the practicalities of Zizek’s Bartleby politics.


Bartleby Politics; Doing Nothing; Zizek

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