• Henri Lefebvre and Cornelius Castoriadis’s autogestion: Reinventing the relationship between public space and collective imaginary

    Marianna Charitonidou (see profile)
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    The paper focuses on Cornelius Castoriadis and Henri Lefebvre’s approaches and sheds light on imaginary dimension in the politics of self-governance. It shows how tactics of self-governance and the imaginary accompanying them revive all the contradictions between the State reason, on the one hand, and human reason and freedom, on the other hand. Castoriadis, in The Imaginary Institution of Society (L'institution imaginaire de la société), emphasizes the internal relation between what is intended (the development of autonomy) and that through which it is intended (the exercise of this autonomy). He notes that these are two moments of a single process and defines as revolutionary politics “a praxis which takes as its object the organization and orientation of society as they foster the autonomy of all its members and which recognizes that this presupposes a radical transformation of society, which will be possible, in its turn, only through the autonomous activity of individuals.” Particular emphasis is placed on the text entitled “Autogestion et hiérarchie” (1974) that Castoriadis co-authored in 1974. My paper treats the following questions: How might a politics like this exist? On what could it be based and what would its implications be for the tactics of formation of urban design tools? Henri Lefebvre, in “Theoretical Problems of Autogestion” (“Problèmes Théoriques de l'Autogestion”), which was published in Autogestion in 1966, underscores the fact that autogestion introduces and stimulates a contradiction with the State. Autogestion, according to Lefebvre, calls into question the State's functioning as a constraining force erected above society as a whole, capturing and demanding the rationality that is inherent to social relations and practice. At the centre of the paper is the colloquium “Pour un urbanisme . . .” held in Grenoble in April 1974.
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    12 months ago


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