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The Imaginary Institution of Society. Creativity and Autonomy in the Social-historical World

  • ID: 2249330
  • Book
  • May 1997
  • Region: Global
  • 448 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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This is one of the most original and important works of contemporary European thought. First published in France in 1975, it is the major theoretical work of one of the foremost thinkers in Europe.

Castoriadis offers a brilliant and far–reaching analysis of the unique character of the social–historical world and its relations to the individual, to language and to nature. He argues that the most traditional conceptions of society and history overlook the essential feature of the social–historical world, namely that this world is not articulated once and for all but is in each case the creation of the society concerned. In emphasizing the element of creativity, Castoriadis opens the way for rethinking political theory and practice in terms of the autonomous and explicit self–institution of society.

Castoriadis′ wide–ranging discussion deals with many issues which are currently topical in the English–speaking world: the critique of Marxism; the creative and imaginary character of language; the relations between action and social institutions; the nature of the unconscious and the reappraisal of psychoanalysis; and the role of symbolism on both the individual and the social levels. This book will be of great interest to anyone concerned with social and political theory and contemporary European thought.

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Part I: Marxism and Revolutionary Theory. .

1. Marxism: A Provisional Assessment.

2. Theory and Revolutionary Project.

3. The Institution and the Imaginary: A First Approach.

Part II: The Social Imaginary and the Institution. .

4. The Social–Historical.

5. The Social–Historical Institution: Legein and Tukhein.

6. The Social–Historical Institution: Individuals and Things.

7. Social Imaginary Significations.



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"Shot through with radiant insights."
The New Statesman and Society

"An excellent introduction to the range, depth, and perceptiveness of his thinking. He has the distinctive ability to bring illumination where there is darkness and obscurity." Richard J. Bernstein, New School of Social Research

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