Autonomy and modern liberal democracy: From Castoriadis to Gauchet.

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  • Author(s): Doyle, Natalie J.
  • Source:
    European Journal of Social Theory. Aug2012, Vol. 15 Issue 3, p331-347. 17p.
  • Additional Information
    • Subject Terms:
    • Abstract:
      Marcel Gauchet’s recently published theory of democracy sheds light on the way his understanding of modernity emerged from Castoriadis’s notion of autonomy but also deepened it by contextualizing it within a discussion of modern historicity. Modern autonomy means re-shaping the world through a new, transformative, form of power that draws on humanity’s capacity for imaginary creation. Gauchet’s theory of modernity, however, rejects the possibility of radical historical creation. Faithful to the teachings of structuralism, it explores the structural conditions behind the genesis of modern power, which favoured the emergence of a new societal form that produces its own future. Encompassing capitalism, Gauchet’s modern power proposes an essentially paradoxical definition of modern democracy that stresses its essentially liberal dimension neglected by Castoriadis. In modern democracy, humans make their own history by liberating individual subjectivities but this deprives them of the means to direct history: liberalism goes against the aspirations to collective sovereignty. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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