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
Karowa 18, 00-324 Warsaw, Poland


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