The social imaginary in the context of social discontents: a conceptual model of the social imaginary, and its application to the amelioration of civilizational crises.

Earle, Samantha (2020) The social imaginary in the context of social discontents: a conceptual model of the social imaginary, and its application to the amelioration of civilizational crises. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

This thesis is premised on the idea that the manifold social discontents – including eco-climate collapse, the violent subjugation of non-human animals, and racial and gendered oppression – are all expressions of the current social imaginary. The concept of the social imaginary has the potential to help us understand the common pathology of these egregious social ills, and how the imaginary might be transformed. Although the field of social imaginaries has emerged in its own right over the last few years, there is as yet no conceptualisation of the social imaginary as a whole. I suggest that such an overarching model will be necessary if it is to be of ameliorative value to social ills.

This thesis, therefore, seeks to present a model of social imaginaries that explains both their constitutive elements and their dynamics. It argues that each social imaginary possesses a unique character in virtue of which it coheres as a whole. The most important contributions of this thesis are:

● Positing the ‘keystone concept’, that is the ontological principle at the heart of each specific social imaginary in virtue of which that imaginary coheres and derives its unique character.
● Accounting for the twin dynamics of the social imaginary: the synthetic imagination that explains its reproduction; and the radical imagination that disrupts the synthetic imagination and creates opportunities for critical reflection and creative responses.
● Emphasising the responsibility of denizens in creating the imaginary world in which we live, and pointing to the ways in which this is most effectively done.
● Identifying the keystone concept of the current imaginary as entitlement; and suggesting that the most significant leverage point for the amelioration of social ills is veganism, because it directly rejects the most complete and salient expression of entitlement: taking the lives of others.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2020 12:04
Last Modified: 05 Nov 2020 12:04
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/77545
DOI:

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