Cornelis Castoriadis

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Cornelis Castoriadis, key thinker on autonomy and social and political change

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Castoriadis is a key anti-authoritarian thinker which has deeply thought on social change in the context of the collapse of the authoritarian-socialist alternatives, with a focus on the 'radical imaginary' and the importance of symbolic meanings. I've used him in the P2P manuscript for his thought on the mutual imbrication of technology and social structures. Technology is a 'dimension' of social reality.


It concludes with the following, and has links to his writings:

"Concerning his political views, he has been called the "Philosopher of Autonomy". He defined an Autonomous society in contrast to a Heteronomous one. While all societies make their own imaginaries (institutions, laws, traditions, beliefs and behaviors), autonomous societies are those that their members do know this fact, and explicitly self-institute. In contrast, the members of heteronomous societies attribute their imaginaries to some extra-social authority (i.e. God, ancestors, historical necessity). Castoriadis died in 1997."


Here's a quote:

Cornelis Castoriadis on the mutual imbrication of the techno-social:

"Organisation sociale et technique sont deux termes qui expriment la creation et l'autoposition d'une societe donnee: dans l'organisation sociale d'ensemble, fins et moyens, significations et instruments, efficacite et valeur ne sont pas separable. Toute societe cree son monde, interne et externe, et cette creation n'est ni instrument ni cause, mais 'dimension' partout presente. (p. 307)

"Le monde moderne est sans doute determine, a une foule de niveaux, par sa technologie; mais cette technologie n'est rien d'autre qu'une des expressions essentielles de ce monde, son 'langage', a l'egard de la nature exterieure et interieure." (p. 311)

Source: Cornelis Castoriadis. L'institution imaginaire de la societe. Seuil (Points /Essais), 1975