Thursday, October 19, 2006

An Other World is Possible - or The Rising Tide of Insignificancy still?

Since the protest against the World Trade Organization in Seattle, 1999, grassroots activists have joined with more formally organized activists to arrange World Social Forum, and local offsprings like European Social Forum and national versions. These days, associated activists in Norway arrange the annual Globalization Conference.

The slogan of the fora: An Other World is Possible, captures the essence of Castoriadis's concept of autonomy, as conscious auto-institution. After 20 years of passivity, under the punch-line "There Is No Alternative" (to market capitalism), young and old leftists are now reawakening to the insight and belief in social change - major social change. They once again dare to think that other institutions and significations can be created.

The question is whether the Tide of Insignificancy, diagnosed by Castoriadis in the 1980's now is receding? Or does the event of the social fora merely signify that we, the subjects under global capitalism, have become "super-reflexive"; using our insights to do nothing, i.e. that we diagnose ourselves and leave it at that: cf. Zizek's "ideology with eyes open"-? In short, would Castoriadis's thought best be used to critique, or to affirm the "movement of movements" of the World Social Forum?


At 3:03 PM, Anonymous zenon said...

Hi to all.

There’s a podcast here
in which Vrasidas Karalis of the University of Sydney gives a superbly illuminating exposition of the trajectory and essence of Castoriadis’ thought.
I think a lot of Castoriadis’ admirers will enjoy it.

At 7:47 PM, Anonymous Ingerid S. said...

This was a very enjoyable lecture, thank you! I was interested in one point made by prof. Karalis in the question round, viz. that Castoriadis never wrote anything on ethics, and in fact ended up on a very voluntaristic position in ethical matters: We do something because we want to do them ...
At the same time, Karalis pointed out many times throughout the lecture that CC was an old-fashioned humanist in many respects, and held a great belief in human beings' capacity for creating something good for themselves and each other. I agree to this, I read him as a great humanist too, but am a bit troubled by his tendency to downplay the normative contents of his thought [maintaining a voluntarist position].


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