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Launched in January 2007, IJŽS is a peer-reviewed, open access academic journal. As its title unambiguously proclaims, it is devoted to the work of Slavoj Žižek, a Slovenian philosopher/cultural theorist. Despite such predictably caricatured media portrayals as "the Elvis of cultural theory" and "the Marx brother", Žižek has attracted enormous international interest through his application of otherwise esoteric scholarship to contemporary mass culture and politics.
With a desire to avoid "how many Žižeks can dance on the head of a pin?" types of debate, and mere hagiography, IJŽS aims to provide a valuable resource for those interested in his inimitable brand of critical thought. Just one small indication of Žižek's wide appeal is apparent from the diverse nature of IJŽS’s Editorial Board and the Journal will be devoted to engaging with the substantive and provocative implications Žižek’s work has for a range of academic disciplines.
For some, the notion of a journal devoted to the work of a theorist very much alive and intellectually kicking is discombobulating. That death should be a prerequisite for sustained scholarly interrogation of a patently substantial body of work, however, is perhaps stranger still. In an interview with one of the many journalists interested in packaging Žižek for mass consumption, Tony Brown of the Editorial Board has pointed out that:
Žižek is alive, which allows him to answer back. Derrida once claimed that people treated him as though he were dead before he actually died, since they were too ready to sum up the import of his work. Žižek always resists such encapsulations of his work and forces us to carry on thinking. He readily challenges people trying to sum him up. Hence his presence on the Board of the journal is unsettling rather than anything else - unsettling in a positive way. Anyone who tried to pin him down would be beating him up, intellectually speaking. Since Žižek is very alive he is able to kick back, interrupt encapsulations, celebrations, as well as criticisms.
Žižek thus defies easy categorisation but the importance of his contribution to contemporary cultural theory is clear. The fact that his success is largely built upon a consistent examination of ideology forcefully belies claims that we now live in post-ideological times. Moreover, his seemingly irrepressible urge and inexhaustible ability to articulate theory at length, in depth, and with manifold entertaining examples, offers significant hope for those seeking respite from the cultural tinnitus of pervasive soundbites.
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