Between the sixties and the eighties in France, the CERFI group (Centre d’études, de recherches et de formation institutionnelles) stood out for its attempt to bring analytical collective practices developed by institutional psychotherapy to other fields of collective organisation, namely professional and militant ones.
The assumption was that all collective organisations require an analytic militancy – an active work on the subjective and unconscious dimensions of collective processes – in order to guarantee their ability to recognise and support the most various revolutionary processes and to avoid crystallisations of power. From this arises a transversal analytical practice that Félix Guattari, activist, psychoanalyst and co-founder of CERFI, called schizoanalysis.
Schizoanalysis focuses on the operations and functioning of the deeper existential machinisms that traverse the subject: “What are your non-human sexes?” It operates a shift from the individual to the collective, and from systems of enunciation to assemblages of enunciation. As such it is a practice that exceeds the problematic of the individualised subject.
In its attempt to explore a new type of analytical militancy, CERFI was principally dedicated to the programming of collective facilities (such as schools, day-care centres or clinics) as well as to the creation of popular programming teams. It also engaged in a fertile editorial activity with the publication of the journal Recherches (49 issues, 1966-1982), whose themes covered Third World revolutionary struggles, pedagogy and primary school education, architecture and psychiatry, childcare, reproductive work, sexual liberation, among many other topics, always insisting on giving voice to those with lived experience rather than that of the “expert” perspectives.
The richness of CERFI’s experimentation, both conceptual and social, points to alternative horizons of militancy in which the unconscious dimension of collective processes is taken into account. It is this practice, which brings analysis to the centre of political struggle, that the seminar proposes to discuss.
How to attend this seminar
We welcome you to join us online on Wednesday 26 April 2023 at 12pm.
This seminar is free to attend with no need to register in advance.
Susana Caló is a researcher in philosophy, post-war histories of psychiatry, semiotics, and social movements. She received a doctorate from the Centre for Research in Modern Contemporary Philosophy (CRMEP) with a reconstruction of the politics of language and semiotics drawing on the work of activist and psychoanalyst Félix Guattari. Prior to this, she has worked in the field of cognitive science and developmental psychology at research centres in Portugal and the United Kingdom. Her current research is dedicated to bringing about neglected post-war histories of psychiatry in their intersections with wider social-political and urban struggles, and the social and political life of concepts of post-war French thought.
Godofredo Pereira is an architect and researcher. He is the head of graduate program for Environmental Architecture at the Royal College of Art (RCA), London. Prior to joining the RCA, he taught urban design at the Bartlett School of Architecture. He received a doctorate from the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths University London and was a member of Forensic Architecture where he led the Atacama Desert project. For the past decade, Pereira has been conducting research, publishing, and exhibiting on environmental architecture, territorial politics, and collective equipment. Recent exhibits include The Ends of the World, with the Lithium Triangle studio, at the Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam, and Last Evenings on Earth at Sharjah Architecture Triennial, United Arab Emirates. He is a coinvestigator on the project “Scales of Climate Justice” with funding from the British Academy and is working on the publication of Ex-Humus: Territorial Politics in the Underground Frontier.