Felix Guattari: biography of this French philosopher and psychoanalyst

Felix Guattari was a 20th century French thinker, philosopher and psychoanalyst, who saw thought as a tool of social struggle. Disciple of Lacan and militant of the left, he wrote numerous works on politics and philosophy.

In this article we will see a brief biography of Felix Guattari, And a summary of his contributions to French society in this century. His legacy continues to this day.

    Felix Guattari: biography of this thinker and activist

    Felix Guattari was born on April 30, 1930 in Villeneuve-les-Sabons (Oise), France. He was a prominent psychoanalyst and philosopher, and central figure in French intellectual life in the second half of the 20th century.

    Félix Guattari began studying pharmacy, under pressure from his family, but quickly abandoned them to study philosophy. In his training career, the two most important areas that will stand out are the factory and the psychiatric hospital.

    Regarding the factory, Félix Guattari joined at a very young age the union group made up of Spanish-Swiss workers (factory of luxury cars and aircraft engines). The “Joves de la Hispano” organize various activities for young workers (study groups, museum visits, volleyball matches, singing lessons, etc.).

    Felix Guattari he then forged himself as a militant, in this youthful atmosphere of cooperation and community life, And is constituted as one of the most important figures of the hostels (where one of the activities was the holidays here).

    From that moment on, his militant activity never ceased and he passed through various groups (Trotskyism, Entrism and Left Opposition).

    intellectual trajectory

    As for the psychiatric hospital, Félix Guattari deviates from his studies of philosophy and begins at Lacan’s seminar (In the early 1950s) to become a specialist in the work of the psychoanalyst Lacaniano. Later, however, he moved away from “Lacanism” from his collaboration with Gilles Deleuze (also a French philosopher).

    His therapeutic experience goes further and at this time enters the psychiatric clinic of La Vora (Exceptional center for institutional psychotherapy), located in a castle in the middle of 18 hectares of forest, and becomes the right arm of Jean Oury, founder and director of the hospital. From that moment and for the next 20 years, he moved into the castle and Félix Guattari’s life passed and focused on La Vora.

    Félix Guattari approaches Freudian work through the thought of Jacques Lacan. After starting his studies in psychoanalysis with Lacan himself, he ended up becoming one of the first non-doctors to participate in his seminar.

    Years later, Guattari joined the Freudian school in Paris, Created by Lacan, in which he obtained the title of member analyst of the School. He participated in such a School until its dissolution on January 5, 1980].

    Finally, Guattari died at the age of 62, on August 29, 1992, at the Vora clinic (also in France).

      His written work

      One of his most striking works is Psychoanalysis and Transversality, from 1976. It is a psychoanalytic critique of institutions. It is considered a heterogeneous work, as it brings together articles written over a period of 15 years (from 55 to 70). In addition, it is also because the articles are very diverse both formally and thematically.

      This work brings together different texts; from lectures that have taken place in academic media, such as newspaper articles or trade magazines. The subjects are varied; there would be two specific areas: politics and psychoanalysis.

      Other of his original works were: The molecular revolution (1977), The mechanical unconscious (1979), The winter years 1980-1985 (1985), The schizoanalytic cartographies (1989), The three ecologies (1989). .. All covering different topics of politics, philosophy and psychoanalysis.


      As for his philosophical heritage, one of Felix Guattari’s contributions is that he does not believe that it is possible to isolate the unconscious in language, Neither structure. On the contrary, he considers the unconscious present in many fields, such as the social, the economic and the political.

      Félix Guattari seeks answers to existential questions in order to reintegrate the complexity of individuals, their libido, their dreams and their inclinations in the political sphere; all that leads him to propose the so-called “ecosophy”.

      Ecosophy is characterized by being a current of thought that promotes the search for wisdom to inhabit the planet, in the midst of the crisis of the global ecosystem that humanity is facing.


      The intellectual work of Félix Guattari is mixed with his political activism. Guattari he is considered a dissident Marxist, And conceives of thought as a tool of social struggle. He militates in the Communist Way and in various left groups.

      Guattari left a legacy, a very important intellectual production, strongly influenced by May 68 (the chain of protests that took place in France and especially in Paris during the months of May and June 1968).

      For Guattari, this movement (which he first described as a molecular revolution) heralds the possibility of other modes of political subjectivation and microsocial struggle. Subjectivation is seen as the process by which we constituted ourselves as subjects and manifested our subjectivity, and it was a concept widely used by Guattari.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Guattari, F. (1976[1972]). Psychoanalysis and transversality. Buenos Aires: 20th century publishers.
      • Abadi, D. (2011). Félix Guattari and institutional analysis. An introduction. I Student Conference of the Department of Philosophy

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