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The imaginary: From Bachelard to Irigaray and beyond

Anderson, Sue Margaret (1998) The imaginary: From Bachelard to Irigaray and beyond. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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This thesis attempts to produce new subjects, new subjectivities, new couplings and radically new bodies via a (re)working or (re)figuring of the imaginary. Via this (re)working, the imaginary is produced as a positive field of movement and production. The thesis uses the work of a number of key philosophers and theorists, such as Bachelard, Merleau-Ponty, Deleuze, Cixous, Kristeva and Irigaray, in whose work is detected a positive movement or moment of production — where the imaginary as a "capacity" or power operates in an expanded field as a continual (re)sourcing for the emergence of a new body, or bodies of well-being.

The thesis suggests that the notion of the imaginary, as it has been developed within philosophical thought, has largely been a concept talked "about." This has lead to its confinement within representational thought, the suppression of its fluid and expanding specificity, its production in a very narrow field, and the emergence of a body-subject in lack. The thesis attempts to show instead, that the imaginary works and produces in an expanded field of production as a constant (re)sourcing. This (re)sourcing is a process whereby the imaginary works as a producing xuith, a living with and a writing with as a way of living in, and with the world, and the other. In this way, the imaginary as a (re)sourcing allows for production(s) outside, and beyond representation.

The thesis performs its (re)working of the imaginary by extracting certain "positive" movements within the work of these very different theorists. It discerns in their work, positive traces and movements of the imaginary which can be worked on, and with, and then used for the production of a new emerging imaginary which is more dynamic, more creative and ultimately more ethical. In this regard, this thesis is a celebration of, and with, the imaginary.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Division of Social Sciences, Humanities and Education
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): McHoul, Alec
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