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Castoriadis, Cornelius


Subject Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631207535.1997.x


(1922-) French political/social theorist and psychoanalyst. Though born in Constantinople and educated in Athens, Castoriadis has lived in France since 1945. He founded the influential left-wing journal Socialisme ou Barbarie in 1949. Castoriadis began as a Marxist theorist interested in the questions of bureaucratic capitalism. His early contention that management by workers could serve as a check to Stalinism was confirmed by the events of the Hungarian Revolution in 1956. Castoriadis then went on to conduct a systematic inquiry into the foundations of M arxism . This resulted in a rejection of the Marxist shibboleths of materialism and determinism. Castoriadis saw that the deterministic strain in Marxism was incompatible with M arx 's own call for the autonomy of revolutionary action. Castoriadis argued that it was time to choose between loyalty to a D iscourse that had outworn its usefulness and the need to remain a revolutionary. He advanced instead a conception of the social-historical. By this he meant the world of human action that would not be restricted to a narrow conception of the political. The revolutionary project itself had to be decentered into a quest for autonomy in which all could participate. Such a project would have to move away from traditional teleologies of time that are deterministic. Castoriadis distinguishes between homogeneous and heterogeneous modes ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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