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Gordon, P. (1991). Cornelius castoriadis interviewed by Paul Gordon. Free Associations, 2(4):483-506.

(1991). Free Associations, 2(4):483-506

The Free Associations Interview

Cornelius castoriadis interviewed by Paul Gordon

Paul Gordon

For more than forty years, Cornelius Castoriadis has been one of Europe's most original and profound social theorists, at the forefront of debates about the meaning of history, the nature of society and the nature of political change.

From 1949 until the mid-1960s, Castoriadis was one of the principal theorists of the French Socialisme ou Barbarie (Socialism or Barbarism) group which he formed along with Claude Lefort, Jean Laplanche and others after he split with Trotskyism. In a series of texts published in the group's journal of the same name, Castoriadis developed a radical critique of bureaucratic societies, East and West, arguing that the primary division in society was no longer that between those who owned the means of production and those who did not, as orthodox Marxism held, but between those who gave orders and those who took them. Furthermore, from his study of the degeneration of the Russian revolution and the fate of Marxism in the Soviet Union and elsewhere and his investigation into the philosophical and historical basis of Marxism came the conclusion that the once revolutionary theory had become an ideology in precisely the sense that Marx had given the term: a set of ideas that relate to a reality in order not to shed light on it and to change it, but to veil it. At the same time, as he explains in this interview, Castoriadis had embarked on a rigorous study of the theory of psychoanalysis.

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