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Castoriadis and Critical Theory


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Table of Contents

Introduction: Reading Castoriadis Politically 1 Origins: Early Years in Greece, Migration and Life in France 1.1 Formative years and the historicopolitical setting in Greece 1.2 Cultural milieu and intellectual influences 1.3 The peculiarity of Castoriadis' migration 1.4 Castoriadis in France 2 The Critique of Totalitarianism 2.1 Castoriadis, Lefort and the questioning of Trotsky 2.2 An exchange of letters between Castoriadis and Pannekoek 2.3 'Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, USSR: Four Letters, Four Lies' 2.4 Keeping the question open 3 Subversive Praxis, Open Crisis and Critique 3.1 Castoriadis, Arendt and the Hungarian Uprising of 1956 3.2 Castoriadis and the crisis of Marxism debate 3.3 Louis Althusser: 'At Last the Crisis of Marxism has Exploded!' 3.4 Castoriadis versus Althusser 4 Marx in Question 4.1 Castoriadis, Axelos and Papaioannou: Distinctiveness and the common basis of their critique of Marx 4.2 Castoriadis and Marx 4.3 The limits of Castoriadis' critique 4.4 Freeing or freezing Marx? 5 The Crisis of Modern Societies and the Revival of Emancipatory Politics 5.1 Castoriadis and the crisis of May 1968 5.2 Crisis, reification and class struggle 5.3 Crisis and the odyssey of the project of autonomy 5.4 Towards a radical social transformation: Socialism, autonomy and revolution Conclusions Notes Bibliography Index

About the Author

Christos Memos is a Lecturer in Sociology at the Department of Sociology, University of Abertay, UK. He has previously taught at the Department of Politics, University of York. His research interests include Critical Social and Political Theory, the Thought of Cornelius Castoriadis, Marx and Marxism, Council Communism and Anarchism, Social Movements and Anti-capitalism


"Memos's book examines the life and work of a major twentieth-century critical thinker, Cornelius Castoriadis. ... The book is well referenced and refreshingly concise, making it an excellent primer for college courses and accessible to a broader audience. ... it is a fair and balanced assessment of the person and his thought, properly situated in the milieu that shaped his ideas. ... the book succeeds in enticing readers to go delve further in Castoriadis's writings." (John Asimakopoulos, Anarchist Studies, Vol. 23 (2), 2017) "Memos' book, Castoriadis and Critical Theory: Crisis, Critique and Radical Alternatives, proves to be important and timely. ... Memos' book sets out to provide an in-depth discussion of the political thought of Cornelius Castoriadis, its historical context, his relation to contemporary Marxism, Marx's work itself and the implications of Castoriadis' writings for political action. Memos builds his argument based on a rich amount of minutely researched historical context, and an intimate knowledge of Castoriadis' life and writings." (Christian Huber and Vitor Hugo Klein Jr., ephemera, ephemerajournal.org, February, 2016)

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