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1928 - 2009

Michel Clouscard was first of all a high-level athlete: he was preselected in 1948 for the Summer Olympics in the 200 metres event.


His university studies in literature and philosophy ended with L'Être et le Code, a thesis defended in 1972. Henri Lefebvre directed his work and later worked with him. Jean-Paul Sartre did not sit on the jury but had a letter read out at the defence.


In spite of the harsh criticism expressed by Clouscard against the phenomenologist Husserl, and then against himself, Sartre stated in this letter that "[its] very ambition makes the book worthwhile. It is nothing less than a matter of mounting history in the form of a genetic totalization. The author wants to restore the process of production of a pre-capitalist whole. This work will give rise to a lifetime of research and writing to develop his work and extend it to the study of French society from 1945 to the present day.


He was professor of sociology at the University of Poitiers from 1975 to 1990, where he was influenced by his colleague Jacques D'Hondt, a specialist in Hegel.


He retired to Gaillac (Tarn) to write the end of his work, some of which is still unpublished. He died in the night of 20-21 February 2009,

clouscard jardin_remastered.jpeg

With Clouscard, by François de Negroni (Delga, MS)

Introduction by Dominique Pagani:

The essential work of Michel Clouscard, whose audience continues to grow on the ruins of postmodernity, is enriched with a precious counterpoint: for the first time, here is the man told in the singular daily life of his existence, over a story that emancipates itself from the conventional codes of biography. This cannot be reduced to the piling up of anecdotes supposed to give flesh and blood to the “gloomy empire of the concept”. He gives us access to the words of a philosopher in situation, who, like Rousseau, the only antecedent in which Clouscard recognized himself, suspends his life to the truth, and finds in the most intimate of the psyche, the pulsations millennia of collective praxis.  


Michel Clouscard, his theses, his character, were ridiculed and marginalized by the dominant intellectual circles, of which François de Negroni sketches a ferocious portrait. His ways of living or thinking were too radically opposed to the permissive injunctions of the time and the celebrated ideologues of desire. No one will have conducted a more severe criticism of libertarian liberalism. However, in many tasty details, throughout the book, we realize that with Clouscard, the right to happiness, insofar as it is not imposed as a duty, remains the decisive revolutionary determination.

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