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Paperback | $39.00 Text | £26.95 | ISBN: 9780262531559 | 426 pp. | 6 x 8.9 in | January 1998

The Imaginary Institution of Society


This is one of the most original and important works of contemporary European thought. First published in France in 1975, it is the major theoretical work of one of the foremost thinkers in Europe today.

Castoriadis offers a brilliant and far-reaching analysis of the unique character of the social-historical world and its relations to the individual, to language, and to nature. He argues that most traditional conceptions of society and history overlook the essential feature of the social-historical world, namely that this world is not articulated once and for all but is in each case the creation of the society concerned. In emphasizing the element of creativity, Castoriadis opens the way for rethinking political theory and practice in terms of the autonomous and explicit self-institution of society.

About the Author

Cornelius Castoriadis (1922-1997) was a Greek-French philosopher, economist and psychoanalyst. Author of the The Imaginary Institution of Society, co-founder of the Socialisme ou Barbarie group and "philosopher of autonomy."


"[T]he most original, ambitious, and reflective attempt to thinkthrough the liberating mediation of history, society, external andinternal nature once again as praxis."

"Castoriadis's The Imaginary Institution of Society is a workof great power and originality. As a work of social theory, I wouldargue that it belongs in a class with the writings of Habermas andArendt."
Jay Bernstein, University of Essex