Félix Guattari (1930-1992) was a French psychoanalyst, philosopher and political activist. Trained as a psychoanalyst under Jacques Lacan, he worked at the experimental psychiatric clinic La Borde (1955-1992). Founded by Jean Oury in 1953, La Borde became a space for institutional experimentation, connected to institutional psychotherapy, aiming to create forms of psychiatric care that undermined patient/analyst hierarchies, involved patients in the organization of daily life in the facility (from cooking to cultural activities) and encouraged transversal group-therapeutic activity. Already in “Machine et structure” (1972) Guattari began to question the Lacanian dictum of the individual unconscious operating like a language and substituted machinic desire, group-subject and semiotics for the idea of a transcendental signifier. He developed schizoanalysis (also in his collaborations with Gilles Deleuze) and ecosophy as alternative practices of analysis and theory of subjectivity. He founded the review Recherches (1967-1983), connected to the Center for Institutional Study, Research, and Training (CERFI, 1965-1987), both of which combined transversal group work with research, knowledge production and political activism. In the aftermath of the 1968-protests, Guattari met Gilles Deleuze and their intellectual friendship led to several collaborative publications and lasted until Guattari’s sudden death in 1992. Throughout his career, Guattari sustained a profound commitment to experimental revisions of analytic practice and to political activism. He collaborated, among others and in different contexts, with the Italian autonomy movement, free radio broadcasting (Radio Alice), Antonio Negri (Communists Like Us (1985, engl. 1990)) and Brazilian psychoanalyst Suley Rolnik on micropolitics (Molecular Revolution in Brazil (1986, engl. 2008)).
Guattari is often primarily associated with his collaborative works with Gilles Deleuze, most notably the two-volumes of Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Anti-Oedipus (1972, Deleuze & Guattari 1983) and A Thousand Plateaus (1980, Deleuze 1987), the book on Kafka (Kafka: Towards a Minor Literature (1975)), and their last collaboration What is Philosophy? (Deleuze & Guattari 1991). For both Guattari and Deleuze, this collaboration was extremely fruitful for the development of their own thought. Next to these productive collaborations, Guattari authored a substantial series of works preceding and running parallel to his work with Deleuze. Main titles are Psychoanalysis and Transversality (1972, engl. 2015), Molecular Revolution: Psychiatry and Politics (1977, engl. 1984), The Machinic Unconsious (1979, Guattari 2010), Schizoanalytic Cartographies (1989, Guattari 2012), The Three Ecologies (1989, Guattari 2000) and Chaosmosis: an Ethico-Aesthetic Paradigm (1992, engl. 1995). Of interest is also the recent publication of his science-fiction film script Un Amour d'UIQ. Scénario pour un film qui manque (2012).
Félix Guattari: A Critical Introduction (Genosko 2009) is a good introduction to Guattari’s thought, Charles Stivale's The 'Two-Fold' Thought of Deleuze and Guattari: Intersections and Animations (1998) is a good introduction to the intertwined thought of Guattari and Deleuze, and Franco Berardi Bifo’s Felix Guattari: Thought, Friendship, and Visionary Cartography (2008) the personal account of a political friend, giving insight into Guattari’s political activism.
Material to categorize
Guattari: Philosophy of Ecology
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