|Died||26 December 1997 75) (aged|
|Other names||Corneille Castoriadis, "Pierre Chaulieu," "Paul Cardan," "Jean-Marc Coudray"|
|Education||8th Gymnasium of Athens |
University of Athens
(1937–1942: B.A., 1942)
University of Paris
(Dr. cand., 1946–1948)
University of Nanterre
|Institutions||École des hautes études en sciences sociales|
Cornelius Castoriadis : Κορνήλιος Καστοριάδης; 11 March 1922 – 26 December 1997) was a Greek and French philosopher, social critic, economist, psychoanalyst, author of The Imaginary Institution of Society, and co-founder of the Socialisme ou Barbarie group.(Greek
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.
The Greeks or Hellenes are an ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus, southern Albania, Italy, Turkey, Egypt and, to a lesser extent, other countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world.
French people are an ethnic group and nation who are identified with the country of France. This connection may be ethnic, legal, historical, or cultural.
His writings on autonomy and social institutions have been influential in both academic and activist circles.
In developmental psychology and moral, political, and bioethical philosophy, autonomy is the capacity to make an informed, uncoerced decision. Autonomous organizations or institutions are independent or self-governing. Autonomy can also be defined from a human resources perspective, where it denotes a level of discretion granted to an employee in his or her work. In such cases, autonomy is known to generally increase job satisfaction. Autonomy is a term that is also widely used in the field of medicine — personal autonomy is greatly recognized and valued in health care.
Cornelius Castoriadis (named after Saint Cornelius the Centurion)was born on 11 March 1922 in Constantinople, the son of Kaisar ("Caesar") and Sophia Kastoriadis. His family had to move in July 1922 to Athens due to the Greek–Turkish population exchange. He developed an interest in politics after he came into contact with Marxist thought and philosophy at the age of 13. At the same time he began studying traditional philosophy after purchasing a copy of the book History of Philosophy (Ιστορία της Φιλοσοφίας, 1933, 2 vols.) by the historian of ideas Nikolaos Louvaris .
Cornelius was a Roman centurion who is considered by Christians to be the first Gentile to convert to the faith, as related in Acts of the Apostles.
Constantinople was the capital city of the Roman Empire (330–395), of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, of the brief Crusader state known as the Latin Empire (1204–1261) and of the Ottoman Empire (1453–1923). In 1923 the capital of Turkey, the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, was moved to Ankara and the name Constantinople was officially changed to Istanbul. The city is located in what is now the European side and the core of modern Istanbul. The city is still referred to as Constantinople in Greek-speaking sources.
Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning over 3,400 years and its earliest human presence starting somewhere between the 11th and 7th millennium BC.
Sometime between 1932 and 1935, Maximiani Portas (later known as "Savitri Devi") was the French tutor of Castoriadis.During the same period, he attended the 8th Gymnasium of Athens in Kato Patisia, from which he graduated in 1937.
A gymnasium is a type of school with a strong emphasis on academic learning, and providing advanced secondary education in some parts of Europe comparable to British grammar schools, sixth form colleges and US preparatory high schools. In its current meaning, it usually refers to secondary schools focused on preparing students to enter a university for advanced academic study. Before the 20th century, the system of gymnasiums was a widespread feature of educational system throughout many countries of central, north, eastern and southern Europe.
His first active involvement in politics occurred during the Metaxas Regime (1937), when he joined the Athenian Communist Youth (Κομμουνιστική Νεολαία Αθήνας, Kommounistiki Neolaia Athinas), a section of the Young Communist League of Greece. In 1941 he joined the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), only to leave one year later in order to become an active Trotskyist.The latter action resulted in his persecution by both the Germans and the Communist Party.
Young Communist League of Greece was the youth wing of the Communist Party of Greece. OKNE was founded on November 28, 1922. The journal I Neolaia became the official organ of OKNE. OKNE was a section of the Communist Youth International. Nikolaos Zachariadis became the leader of OKNE in 1924. In 1925, OKNE was banned by the Greek authorities, along with the Communist Party itself and all its affiliated organizations.
The Communist Party of Greece is a Marxist–Leninist political party in Greece. Founded in 1918 as the Socialist Labour Party of Greece, it is the oldest political party in modern Greek politics. The party was banned in 1936, but played a significant role in the Greek resistance and the Greek Civil War, and its membership peaked in the mid-1940s. Legalization of the KKE was restored following the fall of the Greek military junta of 1967–1974.
Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe, who share a common German ancestry, culture and history. German is the shared mother tongue of a substantial majority of ethnic Germans.
In 1944 he wrote his first essays on social science and Max Weber,which he published in a magazine named Archive of Sociology and Ethics (Αρχείον Κοινωνιολογίας και Ηθικής, Archeion Koinoniologias kai Ithikis). During the December 1944 violent clashes between the communist-led ELAS and the Papandreou government, guided by British troops, Castoriadis heavily criticized the actions of the KKE.
Maximilian Karl Emil Weber was a German sociologist, philosopher, jurist, and political economist. His ideas profoundly influenced social theory and social research. Weber is often cited, with Émile Durkheim and Karl Marx, as among the three founders of sociology. Weber was a key proponent of methodological anti-positivism, arguing for the study of social action through interpretive means, based on understanding the purpose and meaning that individuals attach to their own actions. Unlike Durkheim, he did not believe in mono-causality and rather proposed that for any outcome there can be multiple causes.
The Dekemvriana refers to a series of clashes fought during World War II in Athens from 3 December 1944 to 11 January 1945. The conflict was the culmination of months of tension between the communist EAM, some parts of its military wing, the ELAS stationed in Athens, the KKE and the OPLA from one side and from the other side, the Greek Government, some parts of the Hellenic Royal Army, the Hellenic Gendarmerie, the Cities Police, the far-right Organization X, among others and also the British Army.
The Greek People's Liberation Army, also mistakenly called the National People's Liberation Army, was the military arm of the left-wing National Liberation Front (EAM) during the period of the Greek Resistance until February 1945, when, following the Dekemvriana clashes and the Varkiza Agreement, it was disarmed and disbanded.
In December 1945, three yearsafter earning a bachelor's degree in law, economics and political science from the School of Law, Economics and Political Sciences of the University of Athens (where he met and collaborated with the Neo-Kantian intellectuals Konstantinos Despotopoulos, Panagiotis Kanellopoulos, Konstantinos Tsatsos), he got aboard the RMS Mataroa , a New Zealand ocean liner, to go to Paris (where he remained permanently) to continue his studies under a scholarship offered by the French Institute of Athens. The same voyage—organized by Octave Merlier—also brought from Greece to France a number of other Greek writers, artists and intellectuals, including Constantine Andreou, Kostas Axelos, Georges Candilis, Costa Coulentianos, Emmanuel Kriaras, Adonis A. Kyrou, Kostas Papaïoannou, and Virgile Solomonidis.
Once in Paris, Castoriadis joined the Trotskyist Parti Communiste Internationaliste (PCI). He and Claude Lefort constituted a Chaulieu–Montal Tendency in the French PCI in 1946. In 1948, they experienced their "final disenchantment with Trotskyism",leading them to break away to found the libertarian socialist and councilist group and journal Socialisme ou Barbarie (S. ou B., 1949–1966), which included Jean-François Lyotard and Guy Debord as members for a while, and profoundly influenced the French intellectual left. Castoriadis had links with the group known as the Johnson–Forest Tendency until 1958. Also strongly influenced by Castoriadis and Socialisme ou Barbarie were the British group and journal Solidarity and Maurice Brinton.
In the late 1940s, he started attending philosophical and sociological courses at the Faculty of Letters at the University of Paris ( faculté des lettres de Paris ), where among his teachers were Gaston Bachelard,the epistemologist René Poirier, the historian of philosophy Henri Bréhier (not to be confused with Émile Bréhier), Henri Gouhier, Jean Wahl, Gustave Guillaume, Albert Bayet, and Georges Davy. He submitted a proposal for a doctoral dissertation on mathematical logic to Poirier, but he eventually abandoned the project. The working title of his thesis was Introduction à la logique axiomatique (Introduction to Axiomatic Logic ).
At the same time (starting in November 1948), he worked as an economist at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) until 1970, which was also the year when he obtained French citizenship. Consequently, his writings prior to that date were published pseudonymously, as "Pierre Chaulieu," "Paul Cardan," "Jean-Marc Coudray" etc.
In his 1949 essay "The Relations of Production in Russia",Castoriadis developed a critique of the supposed socialist character of the government of the Soviet Union. According to Castoriadis, the central claim of the Stalinist regime at the time was that the mode of production in Russia was socialist, but the mode of distribution was not yet a socialist one since the socialist edification in the country had not yet been completed. However, according to Castoriadis' analysis, since the mode of distribution of the social product is inseparable from the mode of production, the claim that one can have control over distribution while not having control over production is meaningless.
Castoriadis was particularly influential in the turn of the intellectual left during the 1950s against the Soviet Union, because he argued that the Soviet Union was not a communist but rather a bureaucratic capitalist state, which contrasted with Western powers mostly by virtue of its centralized power apparatus.His work in the OECD substantially helped his analyses.
In the latter years of Socialisme ou Barbarie, Castoriadis came to reject the Marxist theories of economics and of history, especially in an essay on "Modern Capitalism and Revolution", first published in Socialisme ou Barbarie in 1960–61 (first English translation in 1963 by Solidarity). Castoriadis' final Socialisme ou Barbarie essay was "Marxism and Revolutionary Theory", published in April 1964 – June 1965. There he concluded that a revolutionary Marxist must choose either to remain Marxist or to remain revolutionary.
When Jacques Lacan's disputes with the International Psychoanalytical Association led to a split and the formation of the École Freudienne de Paris (EFP) in 1964, Castoriadis became a member (as a non-practitioner).
In 1968 Castoriadis married Piera Aulagnier, a French psychoanalyst who had undergone psychoanalytic treatment under Jacques Lacan from 1955 until 1961.
In 1969 Castoriadis and Aulagnier split from the EFP to join the Organisation psychanalytique de langue française (O.P.L.F.), the so-called "Quatrième Groupe",a psychoanalytic group that claims to follow principles and methods that have opened up a third way between Lacanianism and the standards of the International Psychoanalytical Association.
Castoriadis began to practice analysis in 1973 (he had undergone analysis in the 1960s first with Irène Roubleff and then later with Michel Renard).
In 1967, Castoriadis submitted a proposal for a doctoral dissertation on the philosophy of history to Paul Ricœur (then at the University of Nanterre).An epistolary dialogue began between them but Ricœur's obligations to the University of Chicago in the 1970s were such that their collaboration was not feasible at the time. The subject of his thesis would be Le fondement imaginaire du social-historique (The Imaginary Foundations of the Social-Historical ) (see below).
In his 1975 work, L'Institution imaginaire de la société (Imaginary Institution of Society), and in Les carrefours du labyrinthe (Crossroads in the Labyrinth), published in 1978, Castoriadis began to develop his distinctive understanding of historical change as the emergence of irrecoverable otherness that must always be socially instituted and named in order to be recognized. Otherness emerges in part from the activity of the psyche itself. Creating external social institutions that give stable form to what Castoriadis terms the (ontological) "magmaof social significations" allows the psyche to create stable figures for the self, and to ignore the constant emergence of mental indeterminacy and alterity.
For Castoriadis, self-examination, as in the ancient Greek tradition, could draw upon the resources of modern psychoanalysis. Autonomous individuals—the essence of an autonomous society—must continuously examine themselves and engage in critical reflection. He writes:
... psychoanalysis can and should make a basic contribution to a politics of autonomy. For, each person's self-understanding is a necessary condition for autonomy. One cannot have an autonomous society that would fail to turn back upon itself, that would not interrogate itself about its motives, its reasons for acting, its deep-seated [profondes] tendencies. Considered in concrete terms, however, society doesn't exist outside the individuals making it up. The self-reflective activity of an autonomous society depends essentially upon the self-reflective activity of the humans who form that society.
Castoriadis was not calling for every individual to undergo psychoanalysis, per se. Rather, by reforming education and political systems, individuals would be increasingly capable of critical self- and social reflexion. He offers: "if psychoanalytic practice has a political meaning, it is solely to the extent that it tries, as far as it possibly can, to render the individual autonomous, that is to say, lucid concerning her desire and concerning reality, and responsible for her acts: holding herself accountable for what she does."
In his 1980 Facing the War text, he took the view that Russia had become the primary world military power. To sustain this, in the context of the visible economic inferiority of the Soviet Union in the civilian sector, he proposed that the society may no longer be dominated by the one-party state bureaucracy but by a "stratocracy"—a separate and dominant military sector with expansionist designs on the world. He further argued that this meant there was no internal class dynamic which could lead to social revolution within Russian society and that change could only occur through foreign intervention.
In 1980, he joined the faculty of the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) as Directeur d'études (Director of Studies).He had been elected Directeur de recherche (Director of Research) in EHESS at the end of 1979 after submitting his previously published material in conjunction with a defense of his intellectual project of connecting the disciplines of history, sociology and economy through the concept of the social imaginary (see below). His teaching career at the EHESS lasted sixteen years.
In 1980, he was also awarded his State doctorate from the University of Nanterre; the final title of his thesis under Ricœur (see above) was L'Élément imaginaire de l'histoire(The Imaginary Element in History).
In 1984, Castoriadis and Aulagnier divorced.
In 1989, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Social Sciences by Panteion University and in 1993 another one in Education Sciences by the Democritus University of Thrace.
In 1992, he joined the libertarian socialist journal Society and Nature (established by Takis Fotopoulos) as a writer; the magazine also featured such writers as Murray Bookchin and Noam Chomsky.
He died on 26 December 1997 from complications following heart surgery. He was survived by Zoe Christofidi (his wife at the time of his death), his daughter Sparta (by an earlier relationship with Jeanine "Rilka" Walter,"Comrade Victorine" in the Fourth International), and Kyveli, a younger daughter from his marriage with Zoe.
Edgar Morin proposed that Castoriadis' work will be remembered for its remarkable continuity and coherence as well as for its extraordinary breadth which was "encyclopaedic" in the original Greek sense, for it offered us a paideia , or education, that brought full circle our cycle of otherwise compartmentalized knowledge in the arts and sciences.Castoriadis wrote essays on mathematics, physics, biology, anthropology, psychoanalysis, linguistics, society, economics, politics, philosophy, and art.
One of Castoriadis' many important contributions to social theory was the idea that social change involves radical discontinuities that cannot be understood in terms of any determinate causes or presented as a sequence of events. Change emerges through the social imaginary without strict determinations,but in order to be socially recognized it must be instituted as revolution. Any knowledge of society and social change can exist only by referring to (or by positing) social imaginary significations . Thus, Castoriadis developed a conceptual framework where the sociological and philosophical category of the social imaginary has a central place and he offered an interpretation of modernity centered on the principal categories of social institutions and social imaginary significations; in his analysis, these categories are the product of the human faculties of the radical imagination and the social imaginary, the latter faculty being the collective dimension of the former. (According to Castoriadis, the sociological and philosophical category of the radical imaginary can be manifested only through the individual radical imagination and the social imaginary.) However, the social imaginary cannot be reduced or attributed to subjective imagination, since the individual is informed through an internalisation of social significations.
He used traditional terms as much as possible, though consistently redefining them. Further, some of his terminology changed throughout the later part of his career, with the terms gaining greater consistency but breaking from their traditional meaning (thus creating neologisms). When reading Castoriadis, it is helpful to understand what he means by the terms he uses, since he does not redefine the terms in every piece where he employs them.
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The concept of autonomy was central to his early writings, and he continued to elaborate on its meaning, applications, and limits until his death, gaining him the title of "Philosopher of Autonomy." The word itself is Greek, where auto means "for/by itself" and nomos means "law." It refers to the condition of "self-institution" by which one creates their own laws, whether as an individual or as a whole society. And while every society creates their own institutions, only the members of autonomous societies are fully aware of the fact, and consider themselves to be the ultimate source of justice.In contrast, members of heteronomous societies (hetero- 'other') delegate this process to an authority outside of society, often attributing the source of their traditions to divine origins or, in modern times, to "historical necessity." Castoriadis then identified the need of societies not only to create but to legitimize their laws, to explain, in other words, why their laws are just. Most traditional societies did that through religion, claiming their laws were given by God or a mythical ancestor and therefore must be true.
An exception to this rule is to be found in Ancient Greece, where the constellation of city-states that spread throughout the eastern Mediterranean, although not all democratic, showed strong signs of autonomy, and during its peak, Athens became fully aware of the fact as seen in Pericles' Funeral Oration.Castoriadis considered Greece, a topic that increasingly drew his attention, not as a blueprint to copied but an experiment that could inspire a truly autonomous community, one that could legitimize its laws without assigning their source to a higher authority. The Greeks different to other societies because they not only started as autonomous but maintained this ideal by challenging their laws on a constant basis while obeying them to the same degree (even to the extent of enforcing capital punishment), proving that autonomous societies can indeed exist.
Regarding modern societies, Castoriadis notes that while religions have lost part of their normative function, their nature is still heteronomous, only that this time it has rational pretenses. Capitalism legitimizes itself through "reason," claiming that it makes "rational sense",but Castoriadis observed that all such efforts are ultimately tautological, in that they can only legitimize a system through the rules defined by the system itself. So just like the Old Testament claimed that "There is only one God, God," capitalism defines logic as the maximization of utility and minimization of costs, and then legitimizes itself based on its effectiveness to meet these criteria. Surprisingly, this definition of logic is also shared by Communism, which despite the fact it stands in seeming opposition, it is the product of the same imaginary, and uses the same concepts and categories to describe the world, principally in material terms and through the process of human labor.
The term "imaginary" originates in the writings of the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan (see the Imaginary ) and is strongly associated with Castoriadis' work. Castoriadis believed that for a given society, as we penetrate the layers of its culture deeper and deeper, we arrive at meanings that do not mean something other than themselves. They are, so to speak, "final meanings", that the society in question has imposed on the world, on itself.And yet, for the very reason that these meanings, manifestations of the "radical imaginary" in Castoriadian terminology, never point to anything concrete, that they are also impossible to analyse rationally, since the very categories that logic needs to operate are derived from them. They are arational (rather than irrational), and must therefore be acknowledged rather than comprehended in the common use of the term. Castoriadis' views on concept formation is in sharp contrast to that of postmodernists like Jacques Derrida, who explicitly denies the existence of concepts "in and off themselves".
Radical imaginary is at the basis of cultures and accounts for their differences. In his seminal work The Imaginary Institution of Society, Castoriadis argues that societies are founded not as products of historical necessity, but as the result of a new and radical idea of the world, an idea that appears to spring fully formed and is practically irreducible. All cultural forms (laws and institutions, aesthetics and ritual) follow from this radical imaginary, and are not to be explained merely as products of material conditions. Castoriadis then is offering an "ontogenetic",or "emergentist" model of history, one that is apparently unpopular amongst modern historians, but can serve as a valuable critique of historical materialism. For example, Castoriadis believed that Ancient Greeks had an imaginary by which the world stems from Chaos, while in contrast, the Hebrews had an imaginary by which the world stems from the will of a rational entity, God or Yahweh in the Hebrew Bible. The former developed therefore a system of direct democracy where the laws were ever changing according to the people's will while the second a theocratic system according to which man is in an eternal quest to understand and enforce the will of God.
Traditional societies had elaborate imaginaries, expressed through various creation myths, by which they explained how the world came to be and how it is sustained. Capitalism did away with this mythic imaginary by replacing it with what it claims to be pure reason (as examined above). That same imaginary is the foundation of its opposing ideology, Communism. By that measure he observes (first in his main criticism of Marxism, titled the Imaginary Institution of Society,and subsequently in a speech he gave at the Université catholique de Louvain on February 27, 1980) that these two systems are more closely related than was previously thought, since they share the same industrial revolution type imaginary: that of a rational society where man's welfare is materially measurable and infinitely improvable through the expansion of industries and advancements in science. In this respect Marx failed to understand that technology is not, as he claimed, the main drive of social change, since we have historical examples where societies possessing near identical technologies formed very different relations to them. An example given in the book is France and England during the industrial revolution with the second being much more liberal than the first. Similarly, in the issue of ecology he observes that the problems facing our environment are only present within the capitalist imaginary that values the continuous expansion of industries. Trying to solve it by changing or managing these industries better might fail, since it essentially acknowledges this imaginary as real, thus perpetuating the problem.
Castoriadis also believed that the complex historical processes through which new imaginaries are born are not directly quantifiable by science. This is because it is through the imaginaries themselves that the categories upon which science is applied are created. In the second part of his Imaginary Institution of Society (titled "The Social Imaginary and the Institution"), he gives the example of set theory, which is at the basis of formal logic, which cannot function without having first defined the "elements" which are to be assigned to sets.This initial schema of separation (schéma de séparation, σχήμα του χωρισμού) of the world into distinct elements and categories therefore, precedes the application of (formal) logic and, consequently, science.
Castoriadis was a social constructionist and a moral relativist insofar as the radical imaginary of each society was opaque to rational analysis. Since he believed that social norms and morals ultimately derive from a society's unique idea of the world, which emerges fully formed at a given moment in history and cannot be reduced further, it follows that any criteria by which one could evaluate these morals objectively are also derived from the said imaginary, rendering this evaluation subjective. This does not mean that Castoriadis stopped believing in the value of social struggles for a better world, he simply throught that rationally proving their value is impossible.
This however does not mean that Castoriadis believed there is no truth, but that truth is linked to the imaginary which is ultimately arational. In his book World in Fragments, which includes essays on science, he explicitly writes that "We have to understand that there is truth - and that it is to be made/to be done, that to attain [atteindre] it we have to create it, which means, first and foremost, to imagine it".He then quotes Blake who said "What is now proved was once only imagin'd".
The concept of "Chaos", as found in Ancient Greek cosmogony, is one that is frequently encountered in Castoriadis' work, and is intrinsically connected to the idea of the "imaginary".Castoriadis translates the word as nothingness, although its modern use, as a state of maximum entropy, is not entirely excluded. According to him, the core of the Greek imaginary was a world that came from Chaos rather than the pre-existing will of God as described in Genesis. Castoriadis concludes that this radical idea of a "world out of chaos" was ultimately what made the Greeks so different, and allowed them to create institutions such as democracy. Because what this imaginary conveys is that if the world is created out of nothing, then man can indeed model it as he sees fit, without trying to conform on some pre-existing order like a divine law. He contrasted that sharply to the Biblical imaginary, which sustains all Judaic societies to this day, according to which, in the beginning of the world there was a God, a willing entity and man's position therefore is to understand that Will and act accordingly.
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Castoriadis views the political organization of the ancient Greek city states as a model of an autonomous society. He argues that their direct democracy was not based, as many assume, on the existence of slaves and/or the geography of Greece, which forced the creation of small city states, since many other societies had these preconditions but did not create democratic systems. The same goes for colonisation since the neighbouring Phoenicians, who had a similar expansion in the Mediterranean, were monarchical till their end. During this time of colonization, however, around the time of Homer's epic poems, we observe for the first time that the Greeks, instead of transferring their mother city's social system to the newly established colony, instead, for the first time in known history, legislate anew from the ground up. What also made the Greeks special was the fact that, following the above, they kept this system as a perpetual autonomy which led to direct democracy.
This phenomenon of autonomy is again present in the emergence of the states of northern Italy during the Renaissance,again as a product of small independent merchants.
He sees a tension in the modern West between, on the one hand, the potentials for autonomy and creativity and the proliferation of "open societies" and, on the other hand, the spirit-crushing force of capitalism. These are respectively characterized as the creative imaginary and the capitalist imaginary:
I think that we are at a crossing in the roads of history, history in the grand sense. One road already appears clearly laid out, at least in its general orientation. That's the road of the loss of meaning, of the repetition of empty forms, of conformism, apathy, irresponsibility, and cynicism at the same time as it is that of the tightening grip of the capitalist imaginary of unlimited expansion of "rational mastery," pseudorational pseudomastery, of an unlimited expansion of consumption for the sake of consumption, that is to say, for nothing, and of a technoscience that has become autonomized along its path and that is evidently involved in the domination of this capitalist imaginary.
The other road should be opened: it is not at all laid out. It can be opened only through a social and political awakening, a resurgence of the project of individual and collective autonomy, that is to say, of the will to freedom. This would require an awakening of the imagination and of the creative imaginary.
He argues that, in the last two centuries, ideas about autonomy again come to the fore: "This extraordinary profusion reaches a sort of pinnacle during the two centuries stretching between 1750 and 1950. This is a very specific period because of the very great density of cultural creation but also because of its very strong subversiveness."
Castoriadis has influenced European (especially continental) thought in important ways. His interventions in sociological and political theory have resulted in some of the most well-known writing to emerge from the continent (especially in the figure of Jürgen Habermas, who often can be seen to be writing against Castoriadis).Hans Joas published a number of articles in American journals in order to highlight the importance of Castoriadis' work to a North American sociological audience, and Johann Pál Arnason has been of enduring importance both for his critical engagement with Castoriadis' thought and for his sustained efforts to introduce it to the English speaking public (especially during his editorship of the journal Thesis Eleven ). In the last few years, there has been growing interest in Castoriadis's thought, including the publication of two monographs authored by Arnason's former students: Jeff Klooger's Castoriadis: Psyche, Society, Autonomy (Brill), and Suzi Adams's Castoriadis's Ontology: Being and Creation (Fordham University Press).
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Claude Lefort was a French philosopher and activist.
Libertarian Marxism refers to a broad scope of economic and political philosophies that emphasize the anti-authoritarian aspects of Marxism. Early currents of libertarian Marxism such as left communism emerged in opposition to Marxism–Leninism and its derivatives such as Stalinism and Maoism, among others. Libertarian Marxism is also often critical of reformist positions such as those held by social democrats. Libertarian Marxist currents often draw from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels' later works, specifically the Grundrisse and The Civil War in France; emphasizing the Marxist belief in the ability of the working class to forge its own destiny without the need for a vanguard party to mediate or aid its liberation. Along with anarchism, libertarian Marxism is one of the main currents of libertarian socialism.
The Imaginary order is one of a triptych of terms in the psychoanalytic theory of Jacques Lacan, along with the symbolic and the real. Each of the trio of terms emerged gradually over time, and underwent an evolution during the development of Lacan's thought. "Of these three terms, the 'imaginary' was the first to appear, well before the Rome Report of 1953 ... [when t]he notion of the 'symbolic' came to the forefront". Indeed, looking back at his intellectual development from the vantage point of the 1970s, Lacan epitomised it as follows:
I began with the Imaginary, I then had to chew on the story of the Symbolic ... and I finished by putting out for you this famous Real.
Autonomism is a set of anti-authoritarian left-wing political and social movements and theories. As a theoretical system, it first emerged in Italy in the 1960s from workerist (operaismo) communism. Later, post-Marxist and anarchist tendencies became significant after influence from the Situationists, the failure of Italian far-left movements in the 1970s, and the emergence of a number of important theorists including Antonio Negri, who had contributed to the 1969 founding of Potere Operaio, as well as Mario Tronti, Paolo Virno and Franco "Bifo" Berardi.
Heteronomy refers to action that is influenced by a force outside the individual, in other words the state or condition of being ruled, governed, or under the sway of another, as in a military occupation.
Gabriel Rockhill is a French-American philosopher, cultural critic, writer and public intellectual. He is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Villanova University, Founder and Executive Director of the Critical Theory Workshop/Atelier de Théorie Critique at the Sorbonne/EHESS, and former Directeur de programme at the Collège International de Philosophie. He also co-directs the seminar "Socio-philosophie du temps présent. Enjeux épistémologiques, méthodologiques et critiques" at the EHESS in Paris.
François Dosse is a French historian and philosopher who specializes in intellectual history.
Solidarity was a small libertarian socialist organisation from 1960 to 1992 in the United Kingdom. It published a magazine of the same name. Solidarity was close to council communism in its prescriptions and was known for its emphasis on workers' self-organisation and for its radical anti-Leninism.
Socialisme ou Barbarie was a French-based radical libertarian socialist group of the post-World War II period whose name comes from a phrase which was misattributed by Rosa Luxemburg in the 1916 essay The Junius Pamphlet to Friedrich Engels, but which probably was most likely first used by Karl Kautsky. It existed from 1948 until 1967. The animating personality was Cornelius Castoriadis, also known as Pierre Chaulieu or Paul Cardan. Socialisme ou Barbarie is also the name of the group's journal.
Olivier Morel is a French and American scholar and filmmaker. He is the director of several feature-length nonfiction films (documentaries) and is the author of essays including one graphic novel with the artist and writer Maël. His academic work as well as his films highlight the importance of creation and the arts in the perception of historical events. He teaches at the department of Film, Television and Theatre, and the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Notre Dame in the United States.