Imaginal politics

Thesis Eleven 106 (1):56-72 (2011)

Chiara Bottici
The New School
The aim of this article is to reassess the conceptual link between politics and our capacity to create images. Although a lot has been written on what we can call the ‘politics of imagination’, much less has been done to critically assess the conceptual link between the two in a systematic way. This paper introduces the concept of imaginal, understood simply as what is made of images, to go beyond the current impasse of the opposition between theories of imagination as an individual faculty, on the one hand, and theories of the imaginary as a social context, on the other. As such, I also argue that the concept of imaginal is the theoretical tool most adapted to capture the nature of the conceptual link between politics and our capacity to produce images. This analysis is finally applied to contemporary politics and it is shown to be able to bring light to many of its paradoxes, including that of a political world full of images, but deprived of imagination
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DOI 10.1177/0725513611407446
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