Democracy  &  Nature, Vol. 7, No. 1


The Retreat from Autonomy: Postmodernism as Generalised Conformism

Cornelius Castoriadis


Abstract: This article, after periodizing history on the basis of the imaginary significations created by and dominating each period, argues that the period after the second World war is characterised mainly by the waning of social, political and ideological conflict and the eclipse, after the movements of the 1960s, of the project of autonomy. The decadence in the field of spiritual creation which marks this period is reflected in the development of postmodernism  which simply mirrors and –worse- rationalises the prevailing trends through ‘a high brow apologetics of conformity and banality’. In this sense, postmodernism, both as an effective historical trend and as a theory, is the negation of modernism.