2018-03Thematic Section
The Symbolic Imaginary of Counterculture


The symbolic imaginary of counterculture was fostered by dissent towards the cultural roots of the Western world, by a challenge to traditional norms, values and symbols, and by the rejection of historical identity and national sovereignty. This article aims to discuss some of the aftermaths of the counterculture of the 1960s as resulting from the transformations of its symbolic imaginary. The transformation of the symbolic imaginary of the counterculture is reflected in specific historical changes which had a profound impact on social relations, manners of perceiving or experiencing the world, and the shape of the public sphere within modern society. The dissent of the 1960s is framed in terms of its ability to take over and impose symbolic power, along with transformations of a given cultural model, a process which has roots in the concept of historicity and a new symbolic universe. Special attention is given to the institutionalization of multiculturalism, one of the most important outcomes of the transformation of the symbolic imaginary of counterculture and the normalization of countercultural radicalism. The aftermaths of the radicalism of the 1960s, when presented against the background of the transformation of the symbolic imaginary, underscore a ubiquitous and profound transformation of the entire culture and ideological dynamics in Western societies.


counterculture, imaginary, multiculturalism, Marxism, radicalism

How to cite:

Maślanka, Tomasz. “The Symbolic Imaginary of Counterculture.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 2, no. 3(5) (2018): 42–50. https://doi.org/10.26319/5814.


Tomasz Maślanka
Institute of Sociology, University of Warsaw


Bloom, Alan. The Closing of the American Mind. How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987.

Bock-Cote, Mathieu. Le multiculturalisme comme religion politique. Paris: Les Editions du Cerf, 2016. Fonte, John D. Post-West Syndrome. American Enterprise Institute Online. 1997.

Gouldner, Alvin Ward. The Coming Crisis of Western Sociology. New York: Basic Books, 1970.

Habermas, Jürgen. Die Einbeziehung des Anderen. Studien zur politischen Theorie. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1996.

Kołakowski, Leszek. Main Currents of Marxism. Translated by P. S. Falla. New York: Norton and Company, 2005.

Kołakowski, Leszek. “Szukanie barbarzyńcy. Złudzenia uniwersalizmu kulturalnego,” In Czy diabeł może być zbawiony i 27 innych kazań. Kraków: Znak, 2006, 11–31.

Marcuse, Herbert. Eros and Civilization: A Philosophical Inquiry into Freud. Boston: Beacon Press, 1974.

Marcuse, Herbert. One-Dimentional Man. Studies in The Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society. London: Routledge, 1991.

Maślanka, Tomasz. Racjonalność i komunikacja. Filozoficzne podstawy teorii społecznej Jürgena Habermasa. Warszawa: Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego, 2011.

Maślanka, Tomasz. “Morbus hermeneuticus. Paradygmat komunikacji w socjologicznej i filozoficznej refleksji nad kulturą.” Uniwersyteckie Czasopismo Socjologiczne, no. 9 (2014): 7 – 16.

Rawls, John. A Theory of Justice. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1971.

Reich, Charles A. The Greening of America. London: Pengiun Books, 1972.

Roszak, Theodore. The Making of a Counter Culture. Reflections on the Technocratic Society and its Youthful Opposition, Garden City: Anchor Books, 1968.

Shils, Edward. “Co to jest społeczeństwo obywatelskie?” In Europa i społeczeństwo obywatelskie. Rozmowy w Castel Gandolfo. Edited by Krzysztof Michalski. Kraków: Znak, 1994.

Taylor, Charles. Modern Social Imaginaries, Durham: Duke University Press, 2004.

Touraine, Alain. Production de la société. Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1973.

Vaneigem, Raoul. The Revolution of Everyday Life. Translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith. Oakland, CA: PM Press, 2012.

Open Access Statement:

This is an open access journal which means that all content is freely available without charge to the user or his/her institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author, as long as the author and original source are properly cited. This is in accordance with the BOAI definition of open access.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Submitting a text to Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture means that the author agrees with the general conditions of this license. The author does and will maintain copyrights and publishing rights for his/her article without any restrictions.