Social Imaginaries: Making Sense of the Political Today

New School for Social Research: Sociology

Liberal Arts
Undergraduate Course
Graduate Course
Degree Students (with Restrictions)
Social Imaginaries
Fall 2022
Taught By: Elzbieta Matynia
Section: A

CRN: 14126

Credits: 3

What has happened to that revolutionary imaginary that emerged in 1989, the one that promised comprehensive systemic change without bloodshed, and became a site of tangible hope wherever unfreedom and political violence still reigned? Are today's reversals of democracy a necessary outcome of the alienation caused by today’s representative mode of democracy that relies on experts, incumbents, and money? Would not an exploration of shifting social imaginaries -- those collective interpretive frameworks -- help us make sense of the political and the social today? This forward-looking seminar is organized around three sets of discussions, which examine the factors that made it possible for hope to take root in the first place; those that have facilitated both the unprecedented setbacks to democracy and the growing appeal of its alternatives; and those factors that sustain the promise of a reclaiming of democracy. We will examine the emergence of an infrastructure of public hope and its association with the performativity of democratic politics; we will discuss factors that led to the gradual dismantling of a shared narrative, such as the instrumentalization of public memory, history, and imagi-nation; and finally, we shall focus on the notion of the public square and explore the possibilities for a renewal of the political, paying particular attention to women’s experience in the midst of rising anti-feminism and ani-genderism. The readings will include Cornelius Castoriadis, Charles Taylor, Hannah Arendt, Thomas Mann, Paul Ricoeur, Vaclav Havel, Chantal Mouffe, Judith Butler, Jacques Ranciere, Adam Michnik, Bernard Crick, Achille Mbembe, and Olga Tokarczuk.

College: New School for Social Research (GF)

Department: Sociology (GSOC)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Modality: In-Person

Max Enrollment: 18

Add/Drop Deadline: September 12, 2022 (Monday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: December 18, 2022 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

* Seats available but reserved for a specific population.

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every few minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 5:22am EST 1/28/2023

Meeting Info:
Days: Wednesday
Times: 4:00pm - 5:50pm
Building: 6 East 16th Street
Room: 1009
Date Range: 8/31/2022 - 12/7/2022