Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The imaginary is the set of meanings, symbols, values, narratives, and representations of the world through which people imagine their existence. The concept entered the political-philosophical debate when, after the linguistic turn, political theorists started to point out that our relationship to the world is always linguistically mediated. Then, the problem emerged of the way in which the set of meanings and representations that are deposited in every language influences our political experience. This, in turn, raised crucial issues, such as that of the autonomy of the individual vis-à-vis the power of such imaginary significations, which often operate at the subconscious level as they are internalized through the very first contacts with language. In order to show the relevance of the concept of imaginary for political theory, this entry will first discusses the definition of imaginary and then move on to explore its political implications and contemporary transformations. The conceptual ...