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(France, 1913-1996)

Fernand Deligny

Fernand Deligny (1913–1996) is one of the most significant French figures of libertarian pedagogy and one of the most inventive representatives of the alternative currents in classic psychiatry. He was also a writer and filmmaker. Before the Second World War, he was a lecturer in the psychiatric hospital of Armentières, northern France, setting up the first centres for crime prevention in Lille. Following the war, he founded La Grande Cordée in Paris, an association of ‘free treatment for inmates’ designed for teenage delinquents and psychotics, and supported by a network of associations of popular education and by the Communist Party. From 1967, he created an autonomous network to take care of autistic children in the region of Cévennes (southern France). During his lifetime, Deligny published various works about the ‘absence of language’, which he saw as a way of resistence to ‘symbolic domestication’.

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