Tuesday, April 08, 2008


The Nordic Summer University invites participants for this year’s summer session at Brandbjerg Højskole, Vejle, Denmark, July 20 - 27, 2008. Abstract submission and registration by May 1st

Political thought is interwoven with notions of political subjectivity. In deciding how to conceptualize the human subject - as a self-constructing or constructed identity, a bearer of interests, communicative negotiator, or cathected social meaning - certain notions of politics are brought to life. And vice versa.

40 years after May 68 – could the imaginary again become a political category?
Cornelius Castoriadis, influential thinker in the group "Socialisme ou Barbarie", was a great inspiration for May 68 rebel Daniel Cohn-Bendit. One of the central ideas of the time was that politics is an activity of the imaginary, i.e. to visualize, create and believe in (cathect) new forms of social organization. The notion of "the imaginary" (l'imaginaire) is central in Castoriadis's thought. Via the processes of sublimation and socialization, the imaginary constitutes human subjectivity. Even more original is the idea that the imaginary – and connected to this, creativity – defines the social-historical. Creation, to Castoriadis, is "... the mode of being of the social-historical field, by means of which this field is. Society is self-creation deployed as history". Politics, then, becomes conscious, social-historical creation of imaginary significations.

Today, it could be argued, our collective consciousness is burdened with too much reflexivity. Critique has turned into hyper-reflexivity and irony. Radical political thought seems to be divided between, on the one hand, neo-leninist proposals for unspecified "action"; on the other hand, identity politics and positioning in an endless web of relations. Castoriadis suggests a third alternative, combining elucidation with the always a-rational aspects of human creativity. Psychoanalysis, politics and human subjectivity to him become aspects of one and the same movement: “the project of autonomy”.

Contributors are welcome to explore these and related topics. Comparisons with other thinkers within political thought, psychoanalysis, pedagogy and social theory are especially welcome!
2-5 ECTS credits for PhD-students.

Please send a short abstract (ca. 300 words) by May 1st to ingerids2(a)yahoo.no
Participants without paper are also welcome.
NB: All participants must register!

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS in plenary sessions: Professors Andrew Bowie and Tong Shijun

Brandbjerg Højskole
Board and lodging are kept at good standard and a minimum prize. The summer session offers many possibilities for recreation, including a cultural programme, excursions and special arrangements for children (from the age of 3 years). Please note that the NSU, as a Nordic organization, can only fund travel expenses for praticipants from Nordic institutions, within the Nordic countries.

Nordic Summer University is an organisation and network for Nordic researchers working across the Nordic countries and the academic disciplines. NSU is funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers. Our summer sessions have hosted such distinguished guest lecturers as Martha Nussbaum, Slavoj Žižek, Simon Critchley, Sandra Harding, Paul Gilroy and Johann P. Arnason.

More information about the Nordic Summer University (NSU)

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Akureyri Winter Symposium

Some photos from one of the most peaceful places on Earth, Akureyri, Iceland. Philosophers, sociologists and pedagogues discussing, talking, and bathing in natural hot pools.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

MAY 1968 - 2008: Arrangements in the UK

A few things which might be helpful - from Stuart:

This is the May 68 conference at Birkbeck University, London:
Call for papers

There is a season about to commence on BBC Radio four about May 68. A stack of programmes and resources are located here:
One daily programme will chart events day by day, starting March 17th. Programmes are usually archived on the site within a day or two of broadcasting, so you should be able to access them all, although be quick as they're taken off after a while.

Meantime, this is a BBC Radio 4 programme on 'Imagination'
HINT: Look in the second column, second box down for the link that plays the programme back to you
...This is the archive it comes from:
There are links to philosphy and other resources too...