Charles Fourier  

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The Birth of Venus (detail), a 1486 painting by Sandro Botticelli
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The Birth of Venus (detail), a 1486 painting by Sandro Botticelli

François Marie Charles Fourier (April 7, 1772 - October 10, 1837) was a French utopian socialist and philosopher. An influential thinker, Fourier is credited with coining the word féminisme in 1837; as early as 1808, he had argued that the extension of women's rights was the general principle of all social progress. Fourier promoted free love, inspired communism, situationism, 1960s countercultures and Hakim Bey. He was the subject of a study by Roland Barthes Sade, Fourier, Loyola (1971), is mentioned in André Breton's Anthology of Black Humor (1940) and has a whole convolute dedicated to him in Walter Benjamin's Arcades Project.

He is also the author of satirical texts such as Hiérarchie du cocuage.

Contents

Fourier and free love

Sharing the free love ideals of the earlier social movements, as well as their feminism, pacifism and simple communal life, were the utopian socialist communities of early 19th century France and Britain, associated with writers and thinkers such as Henri de Saint-Simon and Charles Fourier in France and Robert Owen in England. Fourier, who coined the term feminism, argued that true freedom could only occur without masters, without the ethos of work, and without suppressing passions; the suppression of passions is not only destructive to the individual, but to society as a whole. He argued that all sexual expressions should be enjoyed as long as people are not abused, and that "affirming one's difference" can actually enhance social integration.

Contemporary influence

Fourier's work has significantly influenced the writings of Gustav Wyneken, Guy Davenport (in his work of fiction Apples and Pears), Peter Lamborn Wilson, and Paul Goodman and probably influenced the Italian boss Adriano Olivetti in the management of his electronics company.

In Whit Stillman's film Metropolitan, social idealist Tom is described as a Fourierist, and debates the success of social experiment Brook Farm with another of the characters.

David Harvey in the appendix to his book 'Spaces of Hope' (Edilia, or 'Make it what you want') offers a personal utopian vision of the future very alike to Fourier's ideas.

Also William Morris see, 'Political Writings of William Morris' ed. A.L.Morton (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1979)

Communities inspired by Fourier

phalanstère

Fourier's views inspired the founding of the community of Utopia, Ohio; La Reunion near present-day Dallas, Texas; the North American Phalanx in Red Bank, New Jersey; Brook Farm in West Roxbury, Massachusetts (where Nathaniel Hawthorne was one of the founders); the Community Place and Sodus Bay Phalanx in New York State, and several other communities in the United States.

Bibliography

Fourier's works

  • Fourier, Charles. Théorie des quatre mouvements et des destinees generales (Theory of the four movements and the general destinies), appeared anonymously in Lyon in 1808.
  • Fourier, Charles. Oeuvres complètes de Charles Fourier. 12 vols. Paris: Anthropos, 1966-1968.
  • Jones, Gareth Stedman, and Ian Patterson, eds. Fourier: The Theory of the Four Movements. Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1996.
  • Fourier, Charles. Design for Utopia: Selected Writings. Studies in the Libertarian and Utopian Tradition. New York: Schocken, 1971. ISBN 0-8052-0303-6

Œuvre

  • Sur les charlataneries commerciales, Lyon, 16 p., 1807
  • Théorie des 4 mouvements et des destinées générales, Lyon, 1808
  • Le nouveau monde amoureux, 1816 (première publication 1967)
  • Traité de l'association domestique-agricole, 2 volumes, Lyon, 1822
  • Théorie de l'unité universelle, 1822-1823
  • Sommaire et annonces du Traité de l'association domestique-agricole, Paris, Londres, 1823
  • Mnémonique géographique ou méthode pour apprendre en peu de leçons la géographie, la statistique et la politique., Paris, 1824
  • Le Nouveau monde industriel et sociétaire ou invention du procédé d'industrie attrayante etnaturelle, distribuée en séries passionnées, Paris et Londres, 1829
  • Le Nouveau monde industriel, ou invention du procédé d'industrie attrayante et combinée, distribuée en séries passionnées. Livret d'annonces, Paris, 1830
  • Pièges et charlatanisme des deux sectes SAINT-SIMON et OWEN, qui promettent l'association et le progrès., Paris, 1831
  • La fausse industrie morcelée répugnante et mensongère et l'antidote, l'industrie naturelle, combinée, attrayante, véridique donnant quadruple produit, 2 volumes, Paris, 1835-1836
  • Plan du Traité de l'attraction passionnelle, qui devrait être publié en 1821, Paris, 1836
  • PostSriptum à la Lettre confidentielle des membres de la réunion du 31 juillet..., Paris, 1837
  • Œuvres complètes, 6 vol., Paris, La Phalange, 1841-1845
  • Manuscrits, 10 volumes, Paris, La Phalange, 1845-49
  • De l'anarchie industrielle et scientifique, Paris, Librairie Phalanstérienne, 1847
  • Manuscrits - 4 volumes, Paris, Librairie Phalanstérienne, 1851-1858
  • Hiérarchie du cocuage, Paris, Éd. Du siècle, 1924
  • Le nouveau monde amoureux, Paris, Anthropos, 1967
  • Œuvres complètes, 12 volumes, Paris, Anthropos, 1966-68
  • L'ordre subversif. Trois textes sur la Civilisation, Paris, Aubier Montaigne, 1972
  • Le charme composé, Paris, Fata Morgana, 88 p., 1976
  • Hiérarchie du cocuage, Ed. Analatyca, 77 p., 1990
  • Citerlogue, accord de la morale avec les droits naturels par absorption composée, Paris, Fata Morgana, 88 p., 1994
  • Le nouveau monde amoureux, Paris, Stock, 515 p., 1999

Notes




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