Antinomies of Creativity: Lacan and Castoriadis on Social Construction and the Political

Yannis Stavrakakis

in The Lacanian Left

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2007 | ISBN: 9780748619801
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748672073 | DOI:
Antinomies of Creativity: Lacan and Castoriadis on Social Construction and the Political

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This opening chapter aims at initiating a dialogue between Lacanian (political) theory and the social and political theory advanced by Cornelius Castoriadis. A follower of Lacan's seminar who subsequently rejected Lacanian theory, Castoriadis serves as a border figure, a frontier signpost, whose differentiation from the Lacanian corpus can help us draw a first delimitation of the terrain of the Lacanian Left. In fact, a closer look reveals a surprising proximity between the two projects on many levels. Crucially, they both seem to share a similar type of social constructionism. However, they draw quite different conclusions from this constructionism: Castoriadis stresses the importance of creativity while Lacan highlights the alienating dimension of every social construction. Furthermore, in order to safeguard a politics of radical imagination, Castoriadis ultimately disavows the alienating limits of human creation. Here, the Lacanian Left follows a differentdirection. Instead of leading to political quietism or nihilism, a serious registering of the limits of creativity – the Lacanian real as an index of the negative – should be seen as a condition of possibility for a passionate and imaginative transformative politics and for the radicalization of democracy.

Keywords: Castoriadis; Social constructionism; Alienation; Creativity; Imaginary

Chapter.  12123 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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