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Cornelius Castoriadis - Interview on Autonomy and Democracy (1984)

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Published on Mar 14, 2014

Interview with Cornelius Castoriadis for the Greek television network ET1, for the show "Paraskinio," 1984 (with English-language subtitles). This documentary describes the life and the work of Cornelius Castoriadis and his turning from Marxism to the ideas of autonomy.
Central role in this film plays the concept of autonomy. They are being presented two historical moments of autonomous societies - the ancient Greek democracy and the medieval European communities. The democracy of ancient Athens formulates the ideas of the big philosopher and his definitions for direct democracy and autonomy.
What means "politics"? What means "revolution" nowadays? Which is the crisis of the western societies? To these questions Castoriadis search answers all his life. But in order to find such, he quits from the ready ideological answers and he decides not to follow dogmas. In the film it is presented his critic to capitalistic system as well as to the soviet regime and to Marxism. "Nowadays the dilemma is to be or a Marxist or a revolutionary" he claims. In this "no-way out" situation, he proposes to us the alternative of self-management and autonomy.

Cornelius Castoriadis was a Greek- French philosopher, economist and psychoanalyst. His interest in so many cognitive fields such as philosophy, politics, psychoanalysis, economy and biology makes him to be considered as one of the most important philosophers of the 20th century. The concept of autonomy, individual and social one, appears to be a key theme in his work, gaining him the title of "Philosopher of Autonomy". Etymologically, the term autonomy describes the situation in which one society creates itself its laws and institutions.
He lived most of his life in France, where together with personalities such as Lyotard, Guy Debord and Lefort, he co-founded the journal "Socialism or Barbarism", whose texts and ideas strongly influenced the events of May '68. His is author of "The Imaginary Institution of Society" - a work which provokes an explosion to our habits, an explosion of free thought. A work, which represents an intellectual May '68 and just like him, the work of Castoriadis cannot easily be forgotten.

English translation: Ioanna

For more information see the Cornelius Castoriadis/Agora International Website: agorainternational.org

Video in Greek from publicly available online source.

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