‘There are more of you than there are of us’: Forced Entertainment and the Critique of the Neoliberal Subject

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Abstract

There are striking similarities between some of the work produced by Sheffield based performance ensemble Forced Entertainment and the revolutionary theories of Slavoj Žižek. On the surface this comparison may seem unlikely and unsupported by the two jokes below, which appear, at first glance, to be aiming for entirely different effects. The first, revolving around the anti-Semitic stereotype of the greedy Jew, is expansive and incident driven in the tradition of the shaggy dog story, with Žižek drawing the listener in to circular incidents leading exactly nowhere.
At the beginning of this century, a Pole and a Jew were sitting in a train, facing each other. The Pole was shifting nervously, watching the Jew all the time, something was irritating him; finally, unable to restrain himself any longer, he exploded: ‘Tell me, how do you Jews succeed in extracting from people the last small coin and in this way accumulate all your wealth?’ The Jew replied: ‘Ok, I will tell you, but not for nothing; first, you give me five zloty [Polish money].’ After receiving the required amount, the Jew began: ‘First, you take a dead fish; you cut off her head and put her entrails in a glass of water. Then around midnight, when the moon is full, you must bury this glass in a churchyard ….’ ‘And’, the Pole interrupted him greedily, ‘if I do all this, will I also become rich?’
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationŽižek and Performance
EditorsBroderick Chow, Alex Mangold
Place of PublicationBasingstoke
PublisherMacmillan
Chapter8
Pages126-141
Number of pages280
ISBN (Electronic)9781137403193
ISBN (Print)9781137410900, 9781349489138
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014

Publication series

NamePerformance Philosophy
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan

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