From Academic Kids

Pierre-Félix Guattari (1930 - 1992) was a French pioneer of institutional psychotherapy, as well as the founder of both Schizoanalysis and the science of Ecosophy.



Not very well known to the general public, Pierre Félix Guattari was in the 1960s to become a central figure defining the events of May 1968 and its aftermath. Born on March 30, 1930 in Villeneuve-les-Sablons, Guattari first made his way into the history of Psychiatry, Philosophy, and French Militancy with the meeting of Fernand Oury, a craftsman engaged in the future movement of institutional Pedagogy. Encouraged by the brother of Fernand, Jean Oury, psychiatrist, the young Guattari became impassioned from 1950 towards the practice of psychiatry. Through the broad minded approach to the psychiatric practice in France in the 1950s (through the influence of Jacques Lacan), Guattari was led to explore a vast array of universes of thought: philosophy, ethnology, linguistics, architecture, etc., in order to better define the orientation, delimitation and psychiatric efficacity of the practice. With Jean Oury, his principal collaborator since 1955, he continued this research with the private clinic of La Borde at Court-Cheverny, which he helped to found. A place for training innumerable students, philosophical, psychological, ethnologists, and social workers, La Borde was Félix Guattari's principal anchoring, staying there until his death in 1992.

Guattari took part in the movement of the psychological G.T., which gathered many psychiatrists at the beginning of the sixties and created the Association of Institutional Psychotherapy in November 1965. It was also at the same time that Félix Guattari founded, along with other militants, the F.G.E.R.I. (Federation of Groups for Institutional Study & Research) and its review research, working on philosophy, mathematics, psychoanalysis, education, architecture, ethnology, etc. The F.G.E.R.I. came to represent aspects of the multiple political and cultural engagements of Félix Guattari: the Group for Young Hispanics, the Franco-Chinese Friendships (in the times of the popular communes), the opposition activities with the wars in Algeria and Vietnam, the participation in the M.N.E.F., with the U.N.E.F., the policy of the offices of psychological academic aid (B.A.P.U.), the organisation of the University Working Groups (G.T.U.), but also the reorganizations of the training courses with the Centers of Training to the Methods of Education Activities (C.E.M.E.A.) for psychiatric male nurses, as well as the formation of Friendly Male Nurses (Amicales d'infirmiers)(in 1958), the studies on architecture and the projects of construction of a day hospital of for "students and young workers".

Very influenced by the work of Lacan, he however took many distances with respect to the theoretical elaboration of certain concepts and practices. He was one of the actors in the events of May 1968, starting from the Movement of March 22. It was at this time that Guattari met Gilles Deleuze at the University of Vincennes and began to lay the ground-work for the soon to be infamous Anti-Oedipus. Throughout his career it may be said that his writings were at all times correspondent in one fashion or another with sociopolitical and cultural engagements. In 1967, he appeared as one of the founders of OSARLA (Organization of solidarity and Aid to the Latin-American Revolution). It was with the head office of the F.G.E.R.I. that he meet, in 1968, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Jean-Jacques Lebel, and Julian Beck. In 1970, he created C.E.R.F.I. (Center for the Study and Research of Institutional Formation), which takes the direction of the Recherches review.

In his last book, Chaosmose (1992), the topic of which is already partially developed in What is Philosophy? (1991, with Deleuze), Félix Guattari takes again his essential topic: the question of subjectivity. "How to produce it, collect it, enrich it, reinvent it permanently in order to make it compatible with mutant Universes of value?" This idea returns like a leitmotiv, from Psychanalyse and transversality (a regrouping of articles from 1957 to 1972) through Années d'hiver (1980 - 1986) and Cartographies Schizoanalytique (1989). He insists on the function of "a-signification", which plays the role of support for a subjectivity in act, starting from four parameters: "significative and semiotic flows, Phylum of Machanic Propositions, Existential Territories and Incorporeal Universes of Reference."


  • Molecular Revolution

Books written in collaboration with Gilles Deleuze:

  • Anti-Oedipus (1972)
  • Kafka: Towards a Minor Literature
  • A Thousand Plateaus (1980)
  • What Is Philosophy? (1991)

(these are the English translations; dates are from French editions.)

Other books

  • Chaosmosis (1992)
  • Chaosophy (1995) : Félix Guattari's first collection of essays and interviews focuses on the French anti-psychiatrist and theorist's work as director of the experimental La Borde clinic and collaborator of philosopher Gilles Deleuze. Chaosophy is a groundbreaking introduction to Guattari's theories on "schizo-analysis," a process meant to replace Sigmund Freud's interpretation with a more pragmatic, experimental, and collective approach rooted in reality. Unlike Freud, Guattari believes that schizophrenia is an extreme mental state induced by the capitalist system itself. But capitalism keeps enforcing neurosis as a way of maintaining normality. Guattari's post-Marxist vision of capitalism provides a new definition not only of mental illness, but also of micropolitical means of subversion. It includes key essays such as "Balance-Sheet Program for Desiring Machines," cosigned by Deleuze (with whom he coauthored Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus), and the provocative "Everybody Wants To Be a Fascist."
  • Soft Subversions (1996) : This collection of Félix Guattari's essays, lectures, and interviews traces the militant anti-psychiatrist and theorist's thought and activity throughout the 1980s ("the winter years"). Concepts such as "micropolitics," "schizoanalysis," and "becoming-woman" open up new horizons for political and creative resistance in the "postmedia era." Guattari's energetic analyses of art, cinema, youth culture, economics, and power formations introduce a radically inventive thought process engaged in liberating subjectivity from the standardizing and homogenizing processes of global capitalism.
  • Three Ecologies (2000)

External link

fr:Félix Guattari


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