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Imaginal PoliticsImages Beyond Imagination and the Imaginary$
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Chiara Bottici

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231157780

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231157780.001.0001

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From Imagination to the Imaginary and Beyond?

From Imagination to the Imaginary and Beyond?

(p.32) 2 From Imagination to the Imaginary and Beyond?
Imaginal Politics

Chiara Bottici

Columbia University Press

This chapter focuses on the passage from the word imagination to “the imaginary,” which it suggests also points to a passage from a philosophical tradition centered on a philosophy of the subject to a more context-oriented approach. The appearance and increasing prominence of the term imaginary constitutes a rupture in the genealogy of imagination. The passage from imagination to the imaginary signals more than just the fact that imagination itself became imaginary, that is, associated with unreality; it also parallels that from reason to the more context-oriented category of rationality. Psychoanalysis and structuralism both contributed to this development, the former with its emphasis on the complexity of psychic life and the latter with a new attention to the products of imagination. This chapter also examines how the term imaginary became central to Jacques Lacan's theory, along with the concept of social imaginary and Cornelius Castoriadis's notion of a radical imagination.

Keywords:   imagination, imaginary, unreality, reason, rationality, psychoanalysis, structuralism, Jacques Lacan, social imaginary, Cornelius Castoriadis

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