The death of the angel: Guy Hocquenghem and the French cultural revolution after May 1968
Doctor of Philosophy thesis
A leader of the student movements in 1968, a pioneer of homosexual liberation in the 1970s, and a lifelong critic and polemist of French society, Guy Hocquenghem published some twenty books and literally hundreds of articles before his premature death in 1988. This dissertation is a biography of Guy Hocquenghem. However, although it makes ample use of personal interviews and other biographical information, its chief aim is not to psychologize but to contextualize. Its primary orientation is that of the history of ideas, an approach that is more concerned with the relationship between ideas and society than with the logical consistency of the ideas themselves. The present work endeavors, first of all, to explain the evolution of Hocquenghem's ideas and assess his impact as both a philosopher and a militant on French society after 1968. In addition, because Hocquenghem's career is, in many respects, emblematic of the journeys of the French '68ers, it uses his intellectual and political trajectory to describe general patterns that he shared with his generation. More specifically, it relies on Hocquenghem's career to illuminate a critical but often overlooked and misunderstood dimension of the May '68 revolt and its legacies: the eruption of "everyday life" into French politics. Finally, this dissertation aims to contribute to the rehabilitation of Hocquenghem's reputation as key militant, significant philosopher, and consummate polemist of the French '68 generation. In doing so, it is not Hocquenghem's ideas themselves that it seeks to redeem so much as his unique utopian perspective.
Biographies; European history; Gender studies