Slavoj Zizek has been in the spotlight recently after a 2006 article he authored was outed as a near-copy of a 1999 book review in a white supremacist publication.
After one blogger posted side-by-side comparisons of the Zizek’s “A “Plea for a Return Différance (with a Minor Pro Domo Sua)” with a review of Kevin Macdonald’s “The Culture of Critique” appearing in the American Renaissance, the story quickly spread and eventually made the pages of Newsweek.
Now, Zizek has responded to Critical-Theory via email. Zizek blames a lack of oversight on the affair, but defends that he in no way can be accused of “stealing ideas.”
Read Slavoj Zizek’s full response below.
With regard to the recent accusations about my plagiarism, here is what happened. When I was writing the text on Derrida which contains the problematic passages, a friend told me about Kevin Macdonald’s theories, and I asked him to send me a brief resume. The friend send [sic] it to me, assuring me that I can use it freely since it merely resumes another’s line of thought. Consequently, I did just that – and I sincerely apologize for not knowing that my friend’s resume was largely borrowed from Stanley Hornbeck’s review of Macdonald’s book. (These passages are also taken over in Part III, Chapter 1, of my book The Parallax View.) As any reader can quickly establish, the problematic passages are purely informative, a report on another’s theory for which I have no affinity whatsoever; all I do after this brief resume is quickly dismissing Macdonald’s theory as a new chapter in the long process of the destruction of Reason. In no way can I thus be accused of plagiarizing another’s line of thought, of »stealing ideas.« I nonetheless deeply regret the incident.