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Book cover: Current Perspectives in Social Theory

Current Perspectives in Social Theory

ISSN: 0278-1204
Series editor(s): Dr Harry Dahms

Subject Area: Sociology and Public Policy

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Subjectivity, culture, autonomy: castoriadis and social theory

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Title:Subjectivity, culture, autonomy: castoriadis and social theory
Author(s):Anthony Elliott
Volume:22 Editor(s): J. Lehmann ISBN: 978-0-76230-963-4 eISBN: 978-1-84950-177-4
Citation:Anthony Elliott (2002), Subjectivity, culture, autonomy: castoriadis and social theory, in J. Lehmann (ed.) Critical Theory: Diverse Objects, Diverse Subjects (Current Perspectives in Social Theory, Volume 22), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.367-392
DOI:10.1016/S0278-1204(03)80017-8 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article type:Full length article
Abstract:This article critically assesses the late writings of the European social theorist Cornelius Castoriadis in the light of controversies concerning relations between human subjectivity, contemporary culture and political autonomy. My argument is that Castoriadis can now be regarded as a classic figure in social theory. There are three central areas, I shall suggest, that make Castoriadis's theoretical innovations important for the history of social thought: (1) his analysis of the mediation of psyche and society; (2) his views upon culture; and (3) his interpretation of autonomy. Notwithstanding the importance of his work, however, I argue that the thesis of radical imagination needs to be grounded in a broader sociology of affective processes and intersubjective relations, which will in turn permit a theorization anew of the links between subjectivity, social reproduction and political domination.

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