Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Winter Symposium on Castoriadis, Akureyri, Iceland


NORDIC SUMMER UNIVERSITY
Network Group 8: “Creation, Autonomy, Rationality”

Call for papers

The Adventure of Modernity: Castoriadis Beyond Post-Modernism and Neo-Modernism

Winter Symposium at Akureyri University, Iceland
March 7.-9. 2008

Recently, a fellow militant and friend of Cornelius Castoriadis described his work as “an exploration into the adventure of modernity” (Daniel Blanchard). Modernity to Castoriadis means radical transformation of social-historical being. So far, he would be in agreement with classical theories of modernity, such as Weber or Marx. But modernity as an adventure implies that there is something yet unknown and still open in modernity, which is not simply written into the project of rational domination or anticipated in modernity understood as an unfinished project.

The post-modernist declaration of the end of the grand narratives, i.e. the termination of every project of emancipation, relegated the very idea of modernity to the past. Several writers have since attempted to understand the post-modern condition as a continuation of the very modernism to which it would have bid farewell. However, none of the various positions of neo-modernism (a new modernity, second modernity or an unfinished project of modernity) have taken up the thrown (-away) gauntlet of emancipation. Neo-modernism in this sense throws in its lot with post-modernism.

Here, Castoriadis’s view on modernity may open up other prospectives. Modernity is characterised by its “dual institution”, a coexistence of autonomy and a peculiar contemporary form of heteronomy, as embodied in capitalism. The first breakthrough of the former was in ancient Greece, the second in modern democracy. This coexistence has since then been conflictual and unstable. The tendency towards bureaucratisation, which was understood by Weber as the fate of humanity, is for Castoriadis still located within the horizon of modern capitalism, with its goal of an unlimited expansion of "rational mastery". Capitalism hampers the project of autonomy; simultaneously it is permanently contested by the very same striving for autonomy.

Therefore, in the work of Castoriadis the horizon of an emancipatory modernity is still open, and the adventure is not over. We want to explore the implications of this position, as a a challenge to both post-modernism and neo-modernism.

We invite interested researchers, students and activists to participate with papers concerning the subject of Castoriadis and modernity. Papers relating to other aspects of the work of Castoriadis are also welcome. Language: English, alternatively paper in a Nordic language with summary and presentation in English.

ABSTRACTS: A brief abstract should be sent to Ingerid Straume: ingerids2 (a) yahoo.no by Dec. 1st. A preliminary programme will be available the 15th of December.

Nordic participants with papers will be provided with lodging and travel costs according to the guidelines of the Nordic Summer University. A limited amount of non-Nordic participants will be provided lodging, but no travel subvention.

More information, see
Nordic Summer University and also Association Castoriadis and Agora International

Some photos from Akureyri

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