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[Xmca-l] A question on Vygotsky and Imagination

Dear all,

I am new to this list ­ so thanks for your time.

Presently, I am trying to write up an article on Vygotsky and imagination.
Essentially, my interest is to draw attention to a different way of looking
at, and deploying imagination in politics, and one that emphases its
creative potential. In my field, International Relations (IR) imagination is
just ignored as something fanciful rather than intrinsic to human cognition.

I have pasted the abstract below. Any advice on secondary literature, or
even key aspects of Vygotsky’s work that you deem relevant, would be great.

Once again, thanks!


This article seeks to demonstrate the political significance of
imagination and to reclaim this cognitive faculty as something intrinsic
to political life ins world politics. We focus on the psychological work of
Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky (1896-1934) who, we argue, offers a
reconceptualisation of the faculty of imagination as a key part of human
cognitive development and as something central to creative activity. After
engaging with the limitations in Kant’s productive imagination, Husserl’s
phenomenological imagination, and Freud’s irrational understanding of
imagination, we emphasise three elements of Vygotsky’s analysis that
demonstrate the significance of imagination to politics that are routinely
denied in mainstream approaches to International Relations (IR). These
include how the faculty of imagination is developmental, interpenetrated
with reality, and dependent on social-history and culture. While we contend
that Vygotsky offers significant advances in how we can conceive and
approach the faculty of imagination in political thought, in the closing
section we identify three weaknesses. Firstly, while Vygotsky offers a link
between imagination and practice, and was concerned with progressive social
development, it offers only a weakly developed account of imagination¹s link
to political praxis. Secondly, Vygotsky¹s account tells Us only of the
positively productive elements of imagination but he did not turn his
attention to the Œdarkside of imagination regarding the politics of fear,
Œothering, and hate. Thirdly, Vygotsky provides only a thin account of the
intersubjective processes of imagination and offers only the beginnings of a
theory that could embed imagination within social-relations. We close by
advancing a heuristic of imagination that can help us better understand this
complex faculty of imagination and its relation to politics.

Dr. Shannon K. Brincat
Griffith University Research Fellow
Room -1.09 | Building N72 | Centre for Governance and Public Policy | School
of Government and International Relations
Nathan Campus | Griffith University | 170 Kessels Road | Nathan | Brisbane |
Queensland | 4111 | Australia

Global Discourse, Co-Editor

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