Rowman and Littlefield International

Social Imaginaries

Critical Interventions

Edited by Suzi Adams and Jeremy C.A. Smith

4 Reviews

Offering a field-defining survey of the topic, this is the first book to engage all the key figures in the social imaginaries field. It offers new perspectives on the productive tension between social imaginaries and the creative imagination, providing the first programmatic approach to the field as a whole.

Hardback ISBN: 9781786607751 Release date: Oct 2019
£104.00 €126.00 $135.00
Paperback ISBN: 9781786607768 Release date: Oct 2019
£35.00 €41.95 $44.95
Ebook ISBN: 9781786607775 Release date: Oct 2019
£29.95 €41.95 $42.50

Series: Social Imaginaries

Pages: 226


Written by members of the Social Imaginaries Editorial Collective, these programmatic essays showcase new critical interventions in understandings of social imaginaries and the human condition. They include a new comparative approach to theorizing Castoriadis, Ricoeur, and Taylor; the rethinking of the creative imagination in relation to common sense; analyses of political imaginaries in neoliberal and constitutional contexts from perspectives drawing on Gauchet and Lefort; and the taking up questions of historical continuity and discontinuity in civilizational worlds. In addressing pressing questions concerning social imaginaries, the book advances the field as a whole. The book includes a Foreword by George H. Taylor.

This book is a must-read for all scholars interested in social and political imaginaries and will appeal to researchers and graduate students working across a wide variety of disciplines in the human sciences.

Foreword – George H. Taylor

1. The Social Imaginaries Field: Overview and Introduction – Suzi Adams and Jeremy C.A. Smith

2. Clarifying Social Imaginaries: Castoriadis, Ricoeur, and Taylor in Discussion – Suzi Adams

3. Rethinking the History of the Productive Imagination in Relation to Common Sense – John W.M. Krummel

4. History, Civilizations, Imaginaries – Jeremy C.A. Smith

5. Political and Constitutional Imaginaries – Paul Blokker

6. The Political Imaginary of European Hypermodernity: Marcel Gauchet and Contemporary Neo-Liberal Democracy – Natalie J Doyle


Suzi Adams is a Senior Lecturer in the College of the Humanities and Social Sciences (Flinders University), Permanent External Fellow of the East-Central Institute for Philosophy (Charles University), inaugural Senior Research Fellow at the new Humanities Centre for Advanced Studies "Futures of Sustainability: Modernisation, Transformation, Control" (University of Hamburg), and a co-ordinating editor of the Social Imaginaries journal and book series. She has published widely on the social imaginaries field. She has recently edited the English language publication of the Ricoeur-Castoriadis radio encounter from 1985, with accompanying essays (Rowman & Littlefield International, 2017) and is currently writing a monograph entitled Castoriadis and the Imaginary Element (Rowman & Littlefield International).

Jeremy C.A. Smith is in the School of Arts at Federation University Australia. Currently Program Coordinator, Bachelor of Social Science, he held the positions of Deputy Head of School (2016-2018), Associate Dean Learning and Teaching (2011-2014) and Deputy Head of School (2007-2011). He has published his research in European Journal of Social Theory, Critical Horizons, Journal of Intercultural Studies, Atlantic Studies and Political Power and Social Theory. He is the author of Europe and the Americas: State Formation, Capitalism and Civilizations in Atlantic Modernity (Brill, 2006) and Debating Civilizations: Interrogating Civilizational Analysis in a Global Age (Manchester University Press, 2017), as well as a co-editor of two other edited collections. He is also a Coordinating Editor of the international journal Social Imaginaries (Zeta Books) and the Social Imaginaries book series (Rowman & Littlefield International). His current research work revolves around civilizational analysis and social imaginaries.

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4 Reviews

This is a masterful work that shows the contemporary turn to social imaginary studies in its best light. This original intervention into the field brings theoretical rigour and deep insight to the vital empirical and normative research undertaken. The productivity and power of the imagination, and its constitutive role in the imaginaries of politics, law, economics, gender, and democracy, are compellingly dissected. An inspiring read!

Moira Gatens, Challis Professor of Philosophy, University of Sydney

This book moves the concept of “social imaginaries” into the centre of critical inquiry in the humanities and the social sciences. The contributors trace the multiple origins of the notion in philosophy, political theory, history, and sociology, and they connect the strands to demonstrate the emergence of a powerful paradigm for comparing civilizations across history as well as for understanding our current socio-political constellation.

Peter Wagner, ICREA Research Professor in Social and Behavioural Sciences, University of Barcelona

This collection provides an illuminating account of the multiple origins of the contemporary term “social imaginary”, as well as some very interesting examples of the many uses to which it is now being put. It helps clear up some confusions and opens new avenues of reflection on contemporary society.

Charles Taylor, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, McGill University

How we imagine the world shapes the world. The study of social imaginaries is accordingly vital to social science and the humanities. Social Imaginaries: Critical Interventions helps both to articulate the history on which current work is developed and to press scholarship forward.

Craig Calhoun, Professor of Social Sciences, Arizona State University, USA

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