Slavoj Žižek (Slovene pronunciation: [ˈslaʋɔj ˈʒiʒɛk] ( listen); born 21 March 1949) is a Slovenian psychoanalytic philosopher, cultural critic, and Hegelian Marxist. He is a senior researcher at the Institute for Sociology and Philosophy at the University of Ljubljana, Global Distinguished Professor of German at New York University, and international director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities of the University of London. His work is located at the intersection of a range of subjects, including continental philosophy, political theory, cultural studies, psychoanalysis, film criticism, and theology.
Born in Slovenia and educated in Ljubljana and later Paris, Žižek in 1989 published his first English text, The Sublime Object of Ideology, in which he departed from traditional Marxist theory to develop a materialist conception of ideology that drew heavily on Lacanian psychoanalysis and Hegelian idealism. His early theoretical work became increasingly eclectic and political in the 1990s, dealing frequently in the critical analysis of disparate forms of popular culture and making him a popular figure of the academic Left. A critic of capitalism, neoliberalism and political correctness, Žižek identifies as a political radical, and his work has been characterized as challenging orthodoxies of both the political right and the left-liberal academy. His body of writing spans dense theoretical polemics, academic tomes, and accessible introductory books; in addition, he has taken part in various film projects, including two documentary collaborations with director Sophie Fiennes, The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema (2006) and The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology (2012).
Žižek’s idiosyncratic style, popular academic works, frequent magazine op-eds, and critical assimilation of high and low culture have gained him international influence and a substantial audience outside of academia in addition to controversy and criticism.] In 2012, Foreign Policy listed Žižek on its list of Top 100 Global Thinkers, calling him “a celebrity philosopher,” while elsewhere he has been dubbed the “Elvis of cultural theory” and “the most dangerous philosopher in the West.” Žižek’s work was chronicled in a 2005 documentary film entitled Zizek! A scholarly journal, the International Journal of Žižek Studies, was also founded to engage his work.