Imagination as Crisis: Spinoza on the Naturalisation and Denaturalisation of Capitalist Relations

In: Historical Materialism
Anna Piekarska Department of Philosophy, Adam Mickiewicz University Poznań Poland

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Jakub Krzeski Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences, Nicolaus Copernicus University Toruń Poland

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Many current Marxist debates point to a crisis of imagination as a challenge to emancipatory thoughts and actions. The naturalisation of the capitalist mode of production within the production of subjectivity is among the chief reasons behind this state of affairs. This article contributes to the debate by focusing on the notion of imagination, marked by a deep ambivalence capable of both naturalising and denaturalising social relations constitutive of the established order. Such an understanding of imagination is constructed from within the framework of historical materialism, and it draws on Spinoza and Marx, taking advantage of the similarities between the two with respect to the constitution of the subject. From this stems an investigation into the imagination as a material force that partakes both in subjection and liberation. This is further demonstrated in regard to juridical forms of subjectivation and the possibility of subverting these forms through imagination.

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