Castoriadis is able to present his ideas well, although he has a tendency to ramble. He carries on with a basis in psychoanalysis in order to present the "underbelly" of social arrangements, an understanding of the shadow construction of ideology founded on only teleological impetus. Some of his text is perhaps not needed though, as he does ramble. The next step would be to adopt a platform in which the ideological basis for generation does not come from this privileged position of sublimation. He would have to have an aesthetic that reflects the differentials inherent within the discourses he seeks to illuminate

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He developed an interest in politics after he came into contact with Marxist thought and philosophy at the age of Castoriadis heavily criticized the actions of the KKE during the December clashes between the communist-led ELAS on one side, and the Papandreou government aided by British troops on the other.

In , 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.

Castoriadis had links with the group known as the Johnson—Forest Tendency until Consequently, his writings prior to that date were published pseudonymously, as "Pierre Chaulieu," "Paul Cardan," "Jean-Marc Coudray" etc. In his 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. 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 —61 first English translation in by Solidarity.

There he concluded that a revolutionary Marxist must choose either to remain Marxist or to remain revolutionary. 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 "magma [] [38] [] of social significations" [22] [] 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 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.

The self-reflective activity of an autonomous society depends essentially upon the self-reflective activity of the humans who form that society. 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.

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 , Castoriadis and Aulagnier divorced. 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.

Change emerges through the social imaginary without strict determinations, [21] 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.

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. Autonomy and heteronomy[ edit ].


The Imaginary Institution of Society

Band II: La dynamique du capitalisme. Band III: Capitalisme moderne et revolution. Band IV: Le contenu du socialisme. Thucydide, la force et le droit. Suivi de Dialogue. Band 1: Autonomie oder Barbarei.


Cornelius Castoriadis



The Imaginary Institution of Society


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