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Steven Shaviro


Steven Shaviro is a cultural critic. His most widely read book is "Doom Patrols", a "theoretical fiction" that outlines the state of postmodernism during the early 90's using poetic language, personal anecdotes, and creative prose. Additionally, Shaviro has written several books about cinema theory, questioning the application of the tropes of Lacan and Zizek which have become ubiquitous in contemporary academic film theory. He lives in Detroit with his wife and daughter and teaches English literature. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Shaviro [Jun 2005]

see also: cultural criticism - postmodernism - Steven Shaviro - Jacques Lacan - Slavoj Žižek

Doom Patrols [...]

[...] My approach to postmodernism is informed by the theorists I have read and written about in previous books: Bataille, Blanchot, and Deleuze and Guattari. But also by Marshall McLuhan and by Andy Warhol, whom I have come to regard as the most significant North American theorists of postmodernism, even if neither of them ever used the term. Kathy Acker and William Burroughs, exemplary postmodern thinkers by virtue of their literary fictions, are frequently present in these pages as well.

Biology [...]

And I have also been attentive to recent developments in biology, inspired by the neo-Darwinism of Richard Dawkins and by the late Morse Peckham's provocatively Darwinian approach to the study of culture.

Postmodernism [...]

Working in the trace of all these figures, I do not propose anything like a balanced and well-grounded critique of postmodern culture. To do so would be to assert my own separation from the phenomena under discussion; but this is a claim that I find utterly unacceptable. I try, instead, to be as timely as possible; and also perhaps a bit untimely, in the sense that Deleuze has usefully rescued from Nietzsche. It's a matter of learning how to live and feel differently; or more accurately, of articulating ways in which we already are living and feeling differently, whether we like it or not. It's for this reason that I've used the pronoun we rather freely throughout the book, at the risk of seeming to impose a false solidarity upon the reader. All becomings are multiple, as Deleuze and Guattari insist; the we is one marker of this perpetual divergence. There are others; the book shifts frequently between the first, second, and third persons, and at times makes use as well of the Spivak gender-neutral third person singular pronouns e, em, and eir.


http://www.shaviro.com/Blog/ Pinocchio Theory


  • http://www.dhalgren.com
    "Shaviro explains to us in his airy way the mistakes of Nietzsche, Heidegger, Saussure, Chomsky, even Lacan (though Foucault is, like Shaviro, pretty much infallible) while citing as authorities various comic books and science fiction authors - as well, of course, as Burroughs and his cinematic interpreter, David Cronenberg." --James Bowman, The Public Interest, Summer 1996
    His book Doom Patrols, can be read and donwloaded from his site. Now that is what I call freedom of information.

    Morse Peckham [...]

    " Art is a rehearsal for the orientation that makes innovation possible. " --Morse Peckham

    The Cinematic Body (1993) - Steven Shaviro

    The Cinematic Body (1993) - Steven Shaviro [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    Moving between Jerry Lewis and Andy Warhol, between Fassbinder's gay sex icons and George Romero's flesh-eating zombies, Shaviro radically critiques the Lacanian model currently popular in film theory and film studies, arguing against that model's obsessive emphasis on the phallus, castration anxiety, sadistic mastery, ideology, and the structure of the signifier. Shaviro also explores issues of popular culture, postmodernism, the politics of the body, the construction of masculinity and of homo/heterosexualities, the nature and uses of pornography, and the aesthetics of masochism.

    "Invokes and evokes the force and sensation of film from within a Deleuze-Guattarian perspective. . . . well-written, elegant, and eloquent."--Dana Polan via http://www.upress.umn.edu/Books/S/shaviro_cinematic.html [May 2005]

    see also: body - cinema


    1. Doom Patrols: A Theoretical Fiction About Postmodernism - Steven Shaviro [Amazon.com]
      Although suffering from paragraphs that are simply too long and an invisible bibliography, Shaviro's work is a wonderful read, albeit dense. A reading of Grant Morrison's "Doom Patrol" is highly recommended as each of the chapters in Shaviro's work draws from Morrison's complex superhero saga; cursory knowledge of some of the other sources may help too, as they are numerous and vital to understanding how gross Shaviro's effort truly is. Worth reading, if only for the discussions on language (memes showing their ugly face again), identity, the information age and perversity. Conspicuously absent are Frank Zappa, Pee Wee Herman and Greg Egan. But then one needs material for a sequel. -- Matthew Wolf-Meyer for amazon.com

    2. Connected, or What It Means to Live in the Network Society (2003) Steven Shaviro [Amazon.com]
      In the twenty-first century, a network society is emerging. Fragmented, visually saturated, characterized by rapid technological change and constant social upheavals, it is dizzying, excessive, and sometimes surreal. In this breathtaking work, Steven Shaviro investigates popular culture, new technologies, political change, and community disruption and concludes that science fiction and social reality have become virtually indistinguishable.

      Connected is made up of a series of mini-essays-on cyberpunk, hip-hop, film noir, Web surfing, greed, electronic surveillance, pervasive multimedia, psychedelic drugs, artificial intelligence, evolutionary psychology, and the architecture of Frank Gehry, among other topics. Shaviro argues that our strange new world is increasingly being transformed in ways, and by devices, that seem to come out of the pages of science fiction, even while the world itself is becoming a futuristic landscape. The result is that science fiction provides the most useful social theory, the only form that manages to be as radical as reality itself.

      Connected looks at how our networked environment has manifested itself in the work of J. G. Ballard, William S. Burroughs, Philip K. Dick, William Gibson, K. W. Jeter, and others. Shaviro focuses on science fiction not only as a form of cultural commentary but also as a prescient forum in which to explore the forces that are morphing our world into a sort of virtual reality game. Original and compelling, Connected shows how the continual experimentation of science fiction, like science and technology themselves, conjures the invisible social and economic forces that surround us.

      One of our most exciting and innovative cultural theorists, Steven Shaviro is the author of Doom Patrols (1997), The Cinematic Body (Minnesota, 1993), and Passion and Excess (1990). He is professor of film studies and English at the University of Washington.--Book Description via Amazon.com

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