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Durham University

Department of Theology and Religion


Publication details for Dr Marcus Pound

Pound, Marcus (2015). Political Theology and Comedy: Žižek through Rose Tinted Glasses. Crisis and Critique 2(1): 171-191.

Author(s) from Durham


This paper defends the centrality of comedy as paradigmatic of
political theology by reading the project of Slavoj Žižek through the lens
of the late British philosopher Gillian Rose. I begin by exploring Rose’s
recovery of Hegel as means to make good on Marxist social critique with
particular reference to her non-foundational or ‘speculative reading’ of
Hegel. I then explore the degree to which her work stands in advance of
Žižek’s project, arguing that it is her work that makes his project possible
in the first place. I turn next to the reception of Hegel and comedy, and
in particular the place Rose awards comedy in Hegel’s work, before
exploring the central differences between Rose and Žižek’s work: law
verses the symbolic, and the respective shapes of their political theology.
Returning to Rose’s remarks on comedy qua law I ask in the final analysis:
how should we understand the relationship between political theology
and comedy? Rose I suggest offers a coherent alternative to Žižek whilst
retaining nonetheless the commitment to Hegelian-Marxist social theory.