Renata Salecl

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Renata Salecl
Renata Salecl, Subversive Film Festival, Zagreb.JPG
Renata Salecl at Subversive Festival, Zagreb.
Born 1962 (age 52–53)
Slovenj Gradec, Slovenia, Yugoslavia
Era 20th- / 21st-century philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School Lacanian Psychoanalysis, Ljubljana school of psychoanalysis, Critical legal studies
Main interests
Legal theory, Psychoanalysis, Philosophy

Renata Salecl (born 1962) is a Slovene philosopher, sociologist and legal theorist. She is a senior researcher at the Institute of Criminology, Faculty of Law at the University of Ljubljana, and holds a professorship at Birkbeck College, University of London.[1] She has been a visiting professor at London School of Economics, lecturing on the topic of emotions and law. Every year she lectures at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law (New York), on Psychoanalysis and Law,[2] and she has also been teaching courses on neuroscience and law.[3] From 2012, furthermore, she is visiting professor at the Department of Social Science, Heath and Medicine at King's College London. Her books have been translated into thirteen languages.

Life and civic activism[edit]

In the 1980s Salecl became associated with the intellectual circle known as the Ljubljana school of psychoanalysis, which combined the study of Lacanian psychoanalysis with the philosophic legacy of German idealism and critical theory. In the late 1980s she became active in the left liberal opposition to the ruling Slovenian Communist regime.[4] In the first democratic elections in Slovenia in April 1990 she unsuccessfully ran for the Slovenian Parliament on the list of the Alliance of Socialist Youth of Slovenia - Liberal Party.[5] After 1990 she left party politics but remained active in public life, especially as a commentator.

She was married to the Slovenian Marxist-Lacanian philosopher Slavoj Žižek.[6] They have one son.


She studied philosophy at the University of Ljubljana, graduating with a thesis on Foucault's theory of power under the supervision of the Marxist philosopher Božidar Debenjak. From 1986, she started working as a researcher at the Institute of Criminology at the Faculty of Law in Ljubljana, In 1991, she obtained a PhD at the Department of Sociology at the University of Ljubljana under the supervision of Drago Braco Rotar. Her work focuses on bringing together law, criminology and psychoanalysis. She has worked on the theories of punishment, and on the analysis of the relation between late capitalist insistence on choice and the increased feelings of anxiety and guilt in post-modern subjects. The book also analyses how matters of choice apply to law and criminology.

Salecl is associated with the critical legal studies movement. She was Centennial Professor at the department of law at the London School of Economics (LSE) and is now visiting professor at the LSE's BIOS Centre for the Study of Bioscience, Biomedicine, Biotechnology and Society, and holds a full professorship at the School of Law at Birkbeck College, University of London.[1] She often teaches as Visiting Professor at Cardozo School of Law in New York. She has been fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, Berlin (1997/8), visiting professor at the Humboldt University in Berlin, visiting humanities professor at George Washington University in Washington, DC, and visiting professor at Duke University.

She also writes columns in various European newspapers, including Delo (Ljubljana) and La Vanguardia (Barcelona).


  • In 2010, she was awarded the title of "Slovenian woman scientist of the year".[7] In December of the same year, she was a candidate for a "Slovenian person of the year" by the daily newspaper Delo.[8]
  • In 2011, she was named the most successful woman in Slovenia and got the title ONA 365 by the women magazine Ona (English: SHE magazine).[9]

Selected bibliography[edit]

In English[edit]

  • 2010 Choice, London - New York, Profile Books.
  • 2004 On Anxiety, London - New York, Routledge.
  • 2000 Sexuation (ed.), Durham - Duke University Press.
  • 1998 (Per)versions of Love and Hate, London - New York, Verso.
  • 1996 Gaze and Voice as Love Objects (co-ed.), Durham - Duke University Press.
  • 1994 The Spoils of Freedom: Psychoanalysis and Feminism after the Fall of Socialism, London - New York, Routledge.

In Slovene[edit]

  • 1993 Why Do We Love Power? Control, Ideology, and Ideological Phantasms, (Zakaj ubogamo oblast? Nadzorovanje, ideologija in ideološke fantazme).
  • 1991 Discipline as the Condition of Freedom (Disciplina kot pogoj svobode), Studentska organizacija Univerze v Ljubljani.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]