A breach in the social imaginary – Le Bug and the prospective science fiction of Enki Bilal

Mats Rosengren


This essay aims to contribute to the study of social imaginaries by looking at how the imaginal, the imaginary, the discursive and the political co-operate in creating social meaning. Through a reading of the work of the French graphic artist and political thinker Enki Bilal, and more specifically in his latest, yet unfinished, work Le Bug [The Bug], I will explore how the social imaginary dimension currently works, how it politically affects our ways of thinking and of acting.  My assumption is that Bilal can, perhaps, help us see and concretise both possibilities and risks saturating the present-day social universes. I will substantiate my arguments by looking at the processes of creating meaning activated by both writers and readers of comics. 


Social Imaginary; Enki Bilal; Comics; Imaginal; Magma of social imaginary significations

Full Text:



Adams S., ed, (2014) Cornelius Castoriadis Key Concepts, London/New York, Bloomsbury.

Bilal E. (2017; 2019, 2022), Le Bug, Livre 1, Livre 2, Livre 3, Editions Casterman.

Bilal E. (2009-2011, 2020 ), Coup de Sang – La trilogie, Editions Casterman.

Bila E. (1998-2007), Monstres, Editions Casterman.

Bilal E. (1980-1992), La Trilogie Nikopol, Editions Casterman.

Bilal E., Christin P. (1975), La Croisière des oubliés, Dargaud.

Bilal E., Christin P. (1976), Le Vaisseau de pierre, Dargaud.

Bilal E., Christin P. (1983), Partie de Chasse, Dargaud.

Bordwell D. (1996), ”Convention, Construction and Cinematic Vision” in Post-Theory: Reconstructing Film Studies, D Bordwell, N Carrol (eds), Madison, University of Wisconsin Press, Madison.

Bottici C. (2019a), Imaginal Politics – images beyond imagination and the imaginary, Columbia University press.

Bottici C. (2019b) “Imagination, Imaginary, Imaginal: Towards a New Social Ontology?”, Social Epistemology, 33:5, 433-441.

Cassirer E. (1996), The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, Volume 4, Yale University Press.

Castoriadis C. (1987), The Imaginary institution of society, Cambridge, MA, The MIT Press.

Castoriadis C. (1996), La Crise des Sociétées Occidentales, La Montée de l’Insignifiance, Paris, Seuil.

Kukkonen K. (2013), Contemporary Comics Storytelling, University of Nebraska Press.

Meany T. (2019), ”Who’s your dance partner?”, London Review of Books, Vol 4 No. 21-7.

Peeters B. (1998/2003), Lire la bande dessinée, Casterman /Flammarion.

Rosengren M. (2022), ”En bugg i systemet–Enki Bilals prospektiva science fiction”, Pandemiska reflektioner. Retoriska och litteratur-filosofiska undersökningar i coronas tid, (2022), Studia Rhetorica Upsaliensia 9; Löfgren I., Schou Therkildsen L. & Rosengren M. (eds), Uppsala university, SRU/URS.

Rosengren M. (2014), “Magma”, Cornelius Castoriadis: Key Concepts, ed S. Adams, Bloomsbury Publishing.

Rosengren M. (2012), Cave Art, Perception and Knowledge, London, Palgrave Mac Millan.

Rosengren M. (2002), Doxologi – en essä om kunskap, Retorikförlaget

Morten Söndergaard (2020), Vi Rus, translated from Danish by Sophus Helle, unpublished. Thanks to Anna Maria Orrù.

Schou Therkildsen L. (2019), Rhetorical formations of European identity – Close readings of constitutive rhetoric within the EU 1973-2014, Uppsala university, URS/SRU.


France Culture (2020), A Voix Nue, 5 épisodes, first broadcast between the 24 and 28 August 2020. https://www.franceculture.fr/emissions/series/enki-bilal-essentielle-memoire. Last visited 23 Mars 2023: 16:30.

Jaffa J. (2017), “Russias’s house of Shadows”, The New Yorker 16/10, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/10/16/russias-house-of-shadows Last visited 24/3 2023: 20.40.

Le Monde (2019), https://www.lemonde.fr/festival/video/2019/10/28/rencontre-avec-enki-bilal-au-monde-festival60171594415198.html Last visited t 24/3 2023: 20.40.

Sveriges regering (2021), https://www.regeringen.se/pressmeddelanden/2021/01/tillfallig-pandemilag-ger-fler-befogenheter-for-atgarder-om-smittskydd/ Last visited 5/1 2021: 15:32.


https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/EnkiBilal Last visited 23/3 2023: 15.38.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FacebookRevolution. Last visited 23/3 2023: 15.37.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.7413/228181381948


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Im@go. A Journal of the Social Imaginary - Biannual - Edizioni Mimesis