Badiou and Žižek, or the Return of the “Universal Intellectual”

Zahi Zalloua

This paper examines Badiou’s and Žižek’s uncompromising call for a new universalism in philosophy. It asks to what extent is their emphasis on a more traditional model of philosophy (against the perceived sophistry of postmodern thought) a challenge to and reconfiguration of Foucault’s key distinction between the “universal intellectual” and the “specific intellectual,” along with the latter’s plea for a genealogical sensibility in the realm of intellectual discourse.