Educational Equipment and Militant Interventions

After a hiatus, due to work on other projects – translation of Pierre Fédida, Social Life of Concepts reviewer responses, editing of ‘Proust-Machine’ chapter with Tom Baldwin, work on Deleuze-Guattari-Proust for the Italian Journal of Semiotics issue, Barthes and Fragments journal issue, Tel Quel and Sade chapter, La Personne en Médécine paper and Critical Medical Humanities dossier, etc!… now returning to R13.

I realise that the notes on the ‘Medical Equipment’ chapter are unfinished, as are the notes on Chapter 5, ‘Le Discours du Plan’. My plan is to look at the ‘Educational Equipment’ section, return to finish off ‘Medical Equipment’, then ‘Green Spaces’ and ‘The revolt of the mètèques’.

To note that the preface tells us that ‘Medical Equipment’ was written by Lion (Murard), Marie-Thérèse (Vernet-Straggiotti) and Françoise (Lévy); ‘Education’ by Anne (Querrien) and Alain (Fabre); ‘Espaces verts’ by Gilles (Châtelet).

Educational Equipment

To note first of all a substantial focus by Anne on education, especially primary schools.

See Stuart Elden’s post on this. Anne is the author of the CERFI report: Généalogie des équipements collectifs [1] L’école primaire – Anne Querrien, Fontenay-sous-Bois: CERFI, 1975. Funded by grant number 73 01 503.

Elden says that: ‘Querrien was a former doctoral student of Henri Lefebvre’s sociology programme at Nanterre, and general secretary of CERFI. This study also appeared as L’ensaignement 1. L’école primaire, Recherches no 23, 1976; and its themes are reprised as L’école mutuelle: Une pédagogie trop efficace? Paris: Empêcheurs de Penser en Rond, 2005, with a preface by Isabelle Stengers’.

Pedagogy, education, and children is in effect a substantial thematic right across Recherches. The first 5 non-thematised issues of Recherches, from 1966 through to 1967 feature regular focus on it, including contributions from Fernand Deligny, Fernand Oury, René Lourau (on self-management; Lourau’s contribution to R1 merits reading as it gives an autobiographical history of the author’s engagements with the different currents; Lourau aligned with ‘institutional analysis’ and co-authored with Georges Lapassade); material from a journal written by pupils at a Dijon lycée (R2); F. Oury on Freinet (obituary) (R3-4); issues 6-7 on ‘enfance aliénée’; issue 9 on institutional analysis and pedagogy; issues 18, 20 and 24 convened by Deligny (Cahiers de l’immuable); issue 22 ‘Co-ire (Schérer and Hocquenguem); issue 23 which is Querrien’s ‘Ensaignement’; R27 on crèches (Liane Mozère); 37 (Fou d’enfance);

R1 mentions a ‘Commission de Pédagogie Institutionelle’ among the groups affiliated to FGERI. R2 mentions a ‘Groupe d’Education thérapeutique’, directed by Fernand Oury and a ‘stage pédagogique’ involving Deligny, F. Oury, Michel Rostain(g), Prisca Bachelet…, a ‘Club pédagogique’;

N.B. that the thematics of psychiatry, ‘alienation’ and childhood overlap in Deligny’s work, since he is pioneering in the treatment of ‘enfants arriérés’. Also in Lourau, it seems, as the ‘institution’ is a common focus.

N.B. that Anne Querrien’s father, Max Querrien, was a ‘haut fonctionnaire d’Etat’, directeur de l'architecture au ministère des Affaires culturelles de 1963 à 1968; then ‘conseiller d’Etat’ from 1970. He contributed to R6 on architectural programming.

There is thus scope to open an ‘education dossier’, but this might go beyond the limits of the focus on R13.

The ‘Educative equipment’ section opens with epigraphs from Michelet and Bismarck (!) which stress the importance of education for politics.

From the rise of urban centres in the 12th century primary schools become an instrument of the subjugation of the children of the people, with the mastery of the Church. After the revocation of the Edict of Nantes a special tax was instituted to support the creation of catholic and protestant schools; this was the first time that the State got involved in education – in the ‘production of educational equipment’; this is qualified as ‘passer tous les enfants au même moule’; in 1724 a ‘royal intendant’ was responsible for their functioning. Schools thus initially under the mastery of the Church, but soon became part of the ‘rouages d’appareil d’Etat’. Note the Althusserian terms here. The aim was to bring children into the body of the State and citizenship. Fines for parents who did not send their children to school. Notes the extreme diversity and apparent chaos of the system. ‘L’école est avant tout l’espace dans lequel se déploient des châtiments corporels permanents, l’espace de Sade, l’espace de l’instituteur (à venir).’

Enlightenment authorities (Diderot, Turgot, Mirabeau) insisting on the necessity of uniformity. Turgot: universal instruction is the basis of an ‘Etat policé’. Children taken out of the family to be brought up in common at the expense of the State.

Goes on to say that this is the basis of what will eventually become law with the development of a real ‘appareil d’Etat’ across the whole national territory; post-Revolutionary projects: normalising and moralising ‘quadrillage’; ‘imposition d’un ration uniforme’. Uniformization and rationalisation (thus the term ‘normale’ to designate the schools who will train the teachers). This is referred to as ‘la machine à former des citoyens français’, but the different attempts to do this 1789-1833 failed, and the church regained power. The July Revolution (1830) was a popular revolt against the Church in favour of the ‘méthode mutuelle’.

Quadrillage idéologique imposed by ‘reterritorialisation’ of University, which ensures homogeneity and ‘surveillance.’ Guizot – Prime Minister and architect of national education system. Creation of a system of surveillance via the inspectors. Adult education. Sexual segregation. Creation of ‘maternelles’ or ‘salles d’asile’.

‘Ainsi s’est constitué en deux années, d’un seul coup, l’appareil qui va recoder aux niveaux national étatique (celui de la carrière de l’inspecteur national), départmental et communal, les flux de futurs travailleurs, détachés de la famille par le travail industriel.’

The ‘Manifesto of the 60’ in 1864

Summary – ‘équipment unique’ – lieu institutionnel producteur d’assujettissements’ – injtection of the State and hierarchy – ‘figures les plus redoutables de la territorialisation’

The principal emphases of the education section are on the homogenisation of the educational apparatus and the role of the State in this. Suggestions of the ‘territorialisation’ and ‘subjection’ of the populace.

Commentaries on some of the ‘interventions militantes’**

Anne’s ‘intervention militante’ pp. 159-61: Anne writes of the parallel ‘series’ of the ‘genealogy of collective equipment’ project and her own ‘social insertion’, in which issues of education and formation are a primary concern. At stake are her ‘education’ i.e. her academic work (at Nanterre? Sciences Po?) and her decision to leave to ‘collectivise’ her ‘intelligence’, and capacity to write etc. Seems to be conscious of the class divisions between herself (daughter of a State functionary) and the disadvantaged. Can ‘intelligence’ be collectivized, and destroy intelligence as an individual qualification? Anne says this was what was at stake in UNEF, the Movement of the 22nd March, FGERI and the Opposition de gauche. All opposed to the PCF and the State it represented. She contrasts the ‘democratic’ struggle against the State apparatus and the ‘partial struggles on a heterogeneity of objects of investment’, including education. She says that problems of education and formation had been left out of focus. She refers to the law of July 1971 on ‘formation’ (the right of the waged to permanent formation or what would now be called professional development); she says it has become a ‘good object’, but communal organisations lack a profound reflection on this and are thus often obliged to reject those who ‘do not know how to work’.

A refers to a ‘Formation’ group, which has few funds; it has a small contract with an archaic University in Grenoble; but this group is not very much ‘coded’ within CERFI; there is a ‘desire to write’; (‘chez les femmes’); in this context, the Genealogy group appears as a close ‘imaginary site’, disconnected from the ‘necessity’ of permanent formation. It was in the Genealogy group that the relation between ‘executor and executed’, and ‘persecutor-persecuted’ ‘spoke’ itself. Anne says that everyone relied on Marie-Thérèse to assuage the blockage of François and Lion. But MT went on holiday to Germany, pleading her wish to not be part of this and her love of conjugality. She was delegated the part on logical categories, ‘toujours deleuzienne imaginaire’.

But MT leaves, and Anne has to serve. The MLF has not fixed anything. Anne says she has moved to Rue Baudricourt and there are now two ‘women theorists’ (with Francoise). Anne is absorbed in the sexual, conjugal, homosexual-masculine problematic and accords more importance to theory insofar as she sees herself as inferior to the ‘specialists’ (Foucault, Deleuze), who are nevertheless not attuned to the political practice (ref. to relations with the Gauche proletairienne and the Grandmontagne meeting).

So – a branch of FHAR was ‘catapulted’ into Cerfi by the ‘éclatement’of FHAR – the strategy of Christian (Hennion)? Comes into the Genealogy group for the preparation of the ‘drague’ issue. The group suddenly becomes invested by transsexual research which falls to the group of women; can sex itself be deterritorialised?

Marie-Thérèse’s ‘intervention militante’, pp. 175-79, ‘La révolte des mètèques’ (the title suggests those who were not formal citizens of the Greek city, i.e. those working in the periphery of CERFI.) is an extremely interesting reflection on the internal politics of CERFI and the conflicts that arise within the collective, as well as on the nature of the relation to ‘theory’. She thinks about the ways in which the work they are doing is really collective, and if so, is this not simply ‘in the service’ of or in continuity with capitalism. While she concludes that the usual answer would be that the collective work is not about democratic majority or the ‘law of numbers’, but rather about connected and fragmented practices which are ‘transversally’ joined up, she thinks that this is susceptible to produce conflicts. Money is a key aspect of this – CERFI did not practice a ‘value’ system, where money was given to people for a certain amount of work or time; rather, it was distributed according to ‘desire’ (not according to need). Nevertheless, ‘clans’ did surface in CERFI, especially as the ‘Genealogy’ group became more important; there was an apparent division between the ‘permanent’ people and the ‘peripheral’ people or the ‘métèques’. She mentions a proposal from Guattari to transform the distribution of funds to a minumum wage and a collective fund for childcare, parking etc. But with the Genealogy group, Lion (Murard) and François (Fourquet) and would hand out cheques. A certain ‘despotism’ emerged, which also was in evidence in decisions about texts, about what to include and what not to. Earlier she had referred to this as an ‘ordinary fascism’, with reference to the 1969 film ‘Hunting Scenes in Bavaria’. The relationship to the Ministry is also at stake; she makes it clear that it’s not a ‘hold-up’, i.e. just completing whatever needed to be done for the Ministry; there was an investment in it, and the sense of a ‘subversive’ work. She doubts however if this ‘subversion’; is it not just a cover for not doing anything? i.e., perhaps, for the abandonment of militant activity. On the relation to ‘theory’ she asks if Anti-Oedipus functions as a doctrine. She says she does find it annoying that sometimes the language of Anti-Oedipus, - ‘multiplicity of flux’ etc, is used as a dogmatic, empty, and normative injunction. She wonders whether they are vulgarising and ‘selling’ Deleuze and Foucault (mentioning an accusation from the latter). Has Anti-Oedipus become a norm? if there are repressive norms and non-repressive norms, how does one tell the difference? There are no rules, but only ‘relations of force’, authority, opposition, and so on.

The point to draw out of all of this is that these conflicts and doubts are brought to the fore and articulated. There is only desire, the socius, and relations of force. The idea of consensus, of objective work, of a model of value and agreement is out of the window. Yes, there are conflicts, yes, theory is a doctrine, yes.

Marie-Thérèse also writes the next ‘intervention militante’ (191-94), where the relation to theory is also the primary topic. She is ware of a kind of hierarchy, with the ‘grosses têtes’ Foucault, Deleuze, Guattari constituting a kind of ‘tribunal’, something like a ‘soutenance’, especially around Wednesday meetings which MT succeeded in abolishing. She mentions Félix’s intention to abolish the ‘privileges’ attached to the theoretician and make theory into a series of tools for us, but the theory/work division persisted; theory was not ‘socialized’; hierarchy was maintained, with the ‘grosses têtes’ simply apposing their signature(s). She mentions the difficulty of working with the concept of genealogy and the sense that this was not what they were doing; Foucault’s ‘Hommage à Hyppolite, and a conversation with Deleuze about finality and usage were important; Anne was ‘branché sur’ Foucault’s Archeology; conflicts around where the ideas of ‘genealogy’ came from. So as well as a hierarchy, there is a sense of ownership of concepts brought to light here.

Third ‘intervention militante’ from Marie-Thérèse (257); Conjugality and territoriality in the group. A frenetic, ‘schizophrenic’ production of texts. The story of Lion’s wife Catherine alone with the baby who threatens to leave with some other guy but he is involved with the production of the ‘gros pavé’. The group ‘closed on itself’. Here the instances of desire and the ‘distribution’ so to speak of desire make themselves felt, and are articulated as such. This is especially pertinent insofar as the volume ends with the question of the family. How do conjugality and collective work function in relation to one another?

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