The search for redemption: Julia Kristeva and Slavoj Žižek on Marx, psychoanalysis and religion
Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
DOAJ:Philosophy and Religion
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AbstractSlavoj Žižek and Julia Kristeva have followed strikingly similar paths in their intellectual and political development, moving from Marxism through psychoanalysis to Christianity. This article traces the way they have distanced themselves from Marxism and taken up psychoanalysis, of either the Freudian or Lacanian variety. For Kristeva, psychoanalysis provides the therapeutic solution to individual and at times social problems, whereas for Žižek it is the best description of those problems without necessarily providing answers. However, through psychoanalysis, they have gone a step further and become enamoured with Christianity, especially Paul’s letters in the New Testament and the doctrine of love. Paul provides for Kristeva another and earlier version of psychoanalytic solutions, but he enables Žižek to find the social and political answers for which he seeks. By connecting these intellectual moves with their own departures from Eastern Europe, one from Yugoslavia (and then Slovenia) and the other from Bulgaria, I argue that their search for redemption, of both personal and social forms, betrays a residual socialism. In fact, their moves into psychoanalysis and Christianity may be read as compensations for a lost socialism, so much so that Žižek at least makes a belated recovery of Marx through Christianity and Kristeva can never quite excise Marx from her thought.