Another heated debate on theory, ideology and reality has just recently flared up in The Left Hemisphere. During a recent panel at Birkbeck College in London Slavoj Žižek picked up on a statement made by Noam Chomsky in an interview with Veterans Unplugged in December 2012, and now the ball is rolling… Writing for the Guardian, Peter Thompson declares that this “spat deserves a ring side seat”.
Noam Chomsky, the professional contrarian, has accused Slavoj Žižek, the professional heretic, of posturing in the place of theory. This is an accusation often leveled at Žižek from within the Anglo-Saxon empirical tradition. Even those like Chomsky who are on the proto-anarchist left of this tradition like to maintain that their theories are empirically verifiable and rooted in reality.
A Latin empire against the German dominance? The Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben explains his much-discussed thesis. Apparently, he had been misunderstood.
Professor Agamben, when you floated the idea in March of a ‘Latin imperium’ against Germanic domination in Europe, could you have imagined the powerful resonance this contention would have? In the meantime your essay has been translated into countless languages and passionately discussed across half the continent…
No, I didn’t expect this. But I believe in the power of words, when they are spoken at the right time.