The Thesis Eleven Forum for Social and Political Theory presents a seminar exploring the late work of Cornelius Castoriadis with Suzi Adams (Flinders University).
Thursday September 5, 12.15pm to 1.30pm
La Trobe University (Bundoora Campus)
Education 1, Level 4, ED1-403
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Castoriadis and Kaleidoscopic Imaginaries
Cornelius Castoriadis’s ongoing elucidation of the imaginary element traversed more than 30 years of his life. His contribution was ground-breaking for the social imaginaries field. The question of social imaginary significations was a central focus, but his understanding of them changed considerably over time. However, these important differences – and their implications for Castoriadis’ overall thought – remain unrecognized in debates on his work. This paper identifies three phases in his reflections on social imaginaries but concentrates on the final ‘kaleidoscopic’ period (1976-1997). It considers some of the key themes of that time – for example, the ground power of institutions, the autonomy of art, collective affect, the chaos/kosmos metaphor, and the sacred – and examines the theoretical impact for his overall social imaginary framework, on the one hand, and the adequacy of his framework as a general social theory (and understanding of the human condition in its collective dimension), on the other.
Dr Suzi Adams is Senior Lecturer in the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at Flinders University and permanent External Fellow at the East-Central European Institute for Philosophy, Charles University (Prague). She is a founding co-ordinating editor of the Social Imaginaries journal and book series, and from October-December 2019, will be an inaugural Senior Research Fellow at the Humanities Centre for Sustainable Futures at the University of Hamburg. Her current research projects include a monograph on Castoriadis and the Permutations of the Social Imaginary (under contract with Rowman and Littlefield International); an empirical project on Ecotopias: Ecovillages and the Lived Experience of Ideology and Utopia (with Assoc Prof Cassandra Star); and a rethinking of Jan and Aleida Assmann’s cultural memory framework from a social imaginary perspective.
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