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This book examines the philosophical and political relevance of perversion in the works of three key representatives of contemporary philosophy and psychoanalysis: Gilles Deleuze, Giorgio Agamben and Jacques Lacan.

Perversion is often understood simply in terms of cultural or sexual phenomena. By contrast, Boštjan Nedoh places perversion at the heart of philosophical, ontological and political issues in the works of Deleuze, Agamben and Lacan. He examines the relevance of their discussions of perversion for their respective critical ontological projects. By tracing the differences between these thinkers’ understanding of perversion, the book finally draws lines of delimitation between the vitalist and the structuralist or psychoanalytic philosophical positions in contemporary philosophy.



Part I: Introductory: Perversion as a Theatre of Being

1 Perversions and Critical Ontologies: Ontologysing Perversion, Perverting Ontology in Deleuze, Agamben, and Lacan

Part II: Perversion between Deleuze’s Transcendental Empiricism and the Ontology of Immanence Theatrum Philosophicum

2 Deleuze’s Transcendental Empiricism: Simulacrum, Divergence and the Ontology of Difference

3 Masoch as a Name-of-Being

4 From Masoch to Tao: The Revision of Masochism in Late Deleuze

Part III: Beyond Metaphysics? Perversion in Agamben’s Philosophy of Language and Political Philosophy Theatrum Politicum

5 Perverse Sphinx Against Oedipal Metaphysics: (Anti-)Metaphysics of Perversion in Agamben’s Critique of Derrida and Freud

6 Messianism between Religion and Post-Religion: On the Perverse Structure of the Messianic Time

7 State of Exception and Sade’s Biopolitical Manifesto

Part IV: Not Without the Other: Ontology and Perversion in Lacanian Psychoanalysis Theatrum Analiticum

8 Why Perversion Is Not the Norm of the Drive? Polymorphous Perversion from Freud to Lacan

9 The Birth of Perversion from the Death on the Cross: Lacan, Žižek and the Question of Christian Atheism

10 The Sadistic Superego: From the Prohibition to the Imperative of Jouissance


Why is perversion not simply a social phenomenon but a mode of being? In this remarkable book, Nedoh audaciously stalks a novel ontology that dresses in variegated furs. Lacan’s indifferently ferocious superego is juxtaposed to and played against the vitalist simulacra of Deleuze’s Masoch and Agamben’s Sphinx. Should critique drive with high heels?

Lorenzo Chiesa, Author of Subjectivity and Otherness and The Not-Two

For an ontology to be truly fundamental and absolute, it must account for everything under the sun. Given this, the category of the perverse, with its peculiarities and strangenesses, represents perhaps the greatest challenge to any ontological ambitions. In Ontology and Perversion, Boštjan Nedoh admirably rises to this challenge. He does so through a wonderfully illuminating defense of Lacan’s reflections on ontology in relation to the ontologies of Deleuze and Agamben. Nedoh’s book makes perversion an unavoidable point of reference for contemporary Continental metaphysics.

Adrian Johnston, Professor and Chair, Department of Philosophy, University of New Mexico

Boštjan Nedoh is a Research Fellow at the Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Institute of Philosophy, Ljubljana.

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