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Castoriadis’ Concept of Institution and Democracy

Author(s): Dahl Rendtorff, Jacob

Journal: Nordicum-Mediterraneum
ISSN 1670-6242

Volume: 3;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 100;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: Bureaucracy | Castoriadis | democracy | freedom | institution | legitimacy

In this article I discuss the relation between institution and democracy in Castoriadis’ philosophy. The paper proposes an outline of the development of Castoriadis’ political philosophy with focus on institutionalization, imagination and self-limitation of democratic institutions as central elements in Castoridis’ thought. We begin with a short introduction to the concept of institution and institutionalization. Then we discuss the elements of Castoridis’ critique of bureaucracy as a way to distinguish between totalitarian society and democracy. This is the basis for understanding the relation between the imaginary, freedom and autonomy as basic elements of democracy. Finally the paper discusses Castoridis’ new notion of democracy as a kind of self-limitation and creation of collective meaning as the basis for social legitimacy.
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