Fiat iustitia, et pereat mundus? : A comparative study of Karl Marx, Slavoj Žižek and Alain Badiou’s reflections on revolution

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för kulturvetenskaper (KV)


This qualitative thesis analyses the development of Marxian thought on riots and revolution in the works of Slavoj Žižek and Alain Badiou. Due to the structural limitations of this essay, the research has been limited to a comparison between Karl Marx’s The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte and a selection of Žižek and Badiou’s works. Furthermore, the scope of the essay focuses on two material events; the coup d’état of Louis Bonaparte and the England riots of 2011. The comparison was concretised through the usage of Ludvig Beckman’s model for idea analysis and the method of ideal types. This study demonstrated how the modern theorists remain loyal to Marx’s basic analysis of society and concepts such as alienation and exploitation. However, the deterministic and eschatological aspects of Marx’s philosophy have been abandoned for a less ineluctable history, and resonate more towards the Hegelian notion of an open history. This study has also elucidated and cemented the vital importance of the material circumstances in a historical materialist study; moreover, it has revealed the necessity for the modern theorists to reinvent and radicalise a number of Marx’s original concepts for the modern world. Žižek and Badiou also contest Marx’s insistence on the requisite nature of violent revolution, and promote the politics of subtraction as an alternative. 

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