ABSTRACT

What role does the imagination play in today’s economy? The question can be answered on various levels. We are in the midst of the explosion of the image economy, from the new economy to the media-led post-capitalism. Image marketing means that even politics is subordinated to the economic code. At first glance it might seem that the problem is the distortion that communication and the imaginary undergo when they are controlled by the market. Market domination implies that the spectacular dimension that makes social reality unreal is penetrated by the passive temporality of consumption: the continuous flow of goods, the enjoyment that saturates and infantilises. Critical sociology counterpoises economic colonisation to a reality that is itself, however, made into a spectacle. In fact, the two aspects are inseparable and inseparably they are both linked to the political dimension, insofar as politics – as this book claims – manifests itself as a fight for the control of the imagination. In a nutshell, politics is the struggle for people’s imagination because it depends on the social imagination, which is the primary location for consensus and/or choices regarding consumption.