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The Lacanian LeftPsychoanalysis, Theory, Politics$
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Yannis Stavrakakis

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780748619801

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748619801.001.0001

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

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

(p.37) 1 Antinomies of Creativity: Lacan and Castoriadis on Social Construction and the Political
The Lacanian Left

Yannis Stavrakakis

Edinburgh University Press

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

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