Juan José Sebreli

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Juan José Sebreli
Juan José Sebreli.JPG
Born (1930-11-03) November 3, 1930 (age 87)
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Nationality Argentine
Alma mater University of Buenos Aires
Era 20th-century philosophy
21st-century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
Main interests
literary criticism

Juan José Pérez Sebreli[1] (seˈbɾɛli; born 3 November 1930) is an Argentine sociologist, essayist and philosopher. Throughout his intellectual work, he concentrated on the notions of reason, city and everyday life.[2]


Inspired by Gay Power movement, he was co-founder of Frente de Liberación Homosexual ("Gay Liberation Front") along with Manuel Puig and Néstor Perlongher, in the last years of the self-called Argentine Revolution.[3] The organization of the group was an adaptation of the democratic centralist partisan model.[4]
In years that followed the last coup d'état he directed study groups that were called "Universidad de las Sombras" ("University of Shadows").[5] As suggested by its name, it had a secret status, which was a consequence of the Dirty War, that is, political persecution and forced disappearance carried out by the military government, both being crimes against humanity.
Sebreli is mainly known because of his past collaboration with cultural magazines, such as Contorno and Sur. Nowadays he is columnist for La Nación and Perfil newspapers and Ñ magazine. He engaged in several TV debates with Hugo Mujica.



In his work, Sebreli is radically critic of populism. His arguments are characterized by a sharp focus in the Argentine heterogeneous experiences of Peronism, movement he describes as fascist in its core.[6] He criticizes the figure of Juan Domingo Perón, depicting him as an authoritarian and charismatic leader, thus making use of Weberian categories of thought. Sebreli states that the persistence of Peronism could be understood if one considers that, as a matter-of-fact, "there are sectors in the Argentine society that have a (pretended) lack of memory and are prone to self-deception". In one of his latest books ("El malestar en la política", 2012), he argues that Kirchnerism is a form of "latinoamerican neopopulism" and "plebiscitary caesarism", for it perfectly contrasts with a democratic republic.[7][8]


Sebreli is quite known due to his criticism of 'irrational' theoretical inquiries. His arguments are an effort to corrode the foundations of psychoanalysis, and it is for that reason he labels such discipline as pseudoscience, following Karl Popper, as it lacks a proper scientific method.[9] He asserts that Schopenhauer is "the true father of modern irracionalism", and that along with Dostoievski and Nietzsche he contributed to the transformation of philosophy in art, the aestheticization of life and thought.[10]

Existentialism and political ideology[edit]

Sebreli was member of the so-called “first Argentine existentialist group” along with Oscar Masotta and Carlos Correas. He introduced Jean-Paul Sartre into the academic milieux of his time. Molded in Hegelian and Marxist Left, he introduced the political thought of Alexandre Kojève and that of Tran Duc Thao. Sebreli defines himself as social-democrat, "in a European sense."


Unfortunately, there are no known translations of Sebreli ouvre to English. Nonetheless, an approximate translation of titles of the works was performed.

  • 1960: Martínez Estrada, una rebelión inútil ("Martínez Estrada, a useless insurrection")
  • 1964: Buenos Aires, vida cotidiana y alienación ("Buenos Aires, everyday life and alienation")
  • 1966: Eva Perón, aventurera ó militante ("Eva Perón, status seeker or activist")
  • 1970: Mar del Plata, el ocio represivo ("Mar de Plata, the repressive leisure")
  • 1983: Los deseos imaginarios del peronismo ("The imaginary desires of Peronism")
  • 1984: El riesgo del pensar. Ensayos 1950-1984 ("The risk of thinking. Essays 1950-1984")
  • 1985: La saga de los Anchorena ("The Anchorena saga")
  • 1987: Las señales de la memoria ("The landmarks of memory")
  • 1991: El asedio a la modernidad ("The siege to modernity")
  • 1994: El vacilar de las cosas ("Hesitation of things")
  • 1997: Escritos sobre escritos, ciudades bajo ciudades ("Writings upon writings, cities below cities")
  • 1998: La era del fútbol ("Soccer era")
  • 2000: Las aventuras de la vanguardia ("The avant-garde adventures")
  • 2002: Crítica de las ideas políticas argentinas ("Critic of the Argentine political ideas")
  • 2005: El tiempo de una vida (autobiografía) ("The time of a life. Autobiography")
  • 2006: El olvido de la razón. Un recorrido crítico por la filosofía contemporánea ("The oblivion of reason. A critical tour through contemporary philosophy")
  • 2008: Comediantes y mártires. Ensayo contra los mitos ("Comedians and martyrs. An essay against myths")
  • 2010: Cuadernos ("Notebooks")
  • 2012: El malestar de la política ("Politics and Its Discontents", probably a reference to Freud's text of similar name)
  • 2016: Dios en el laberinto. Crítica de las religiones ("God in the Laberinth. Critique of religions").


  1. ^ "Perez Sebreli Juan Jose", BuscarDatos.com, Retrieved 29 March 2017 (in Spanish)
  2. ^ Sebreli, el tiempo de una vida", Parlante Posmodernidad, Retrieved 24 July 2013 (in Spanish)
  3. ^ El Frente de Liberación Homosexual", Clarín.com, Retrieved 24 July 2013 (in Spanish)
  4. ^ Néstor Perlongher" Archived 2010-06-09 at the Wayback Machine., EL ORTIBA, Retrieved 24 July 2013 (in Spanish)
  5. ^ Los deseos imaginarios del peronismo", elaleph.com, Retrieved 25 July 2013 (in Spanish)
  6. ^ “Juan José Sebreli: “En la Argentina son todos populistas””, Revista Ñ, Retrieved 24 July 2013 (in Spanish)
  7. ^ Juan José Sebreli: "Estamos en un fin de ciclo, pagando el fin de fiesta", lanacion.com, Retrieved 24 July 2013 (in Spanish)
  8. ^ Juan José Sebreli: "La idea de ir por todo es típicamente totalitaria", infobae, Retrieved 24 July 2013 (in Spanish)
  9. ^ JJ Sebreli contra todos | Yo nací para esto, Pinchilón Fonseca, Retrieved 24 July 2013 (in Spanish)
  10. ^ El olvido de la razón, El Cultural.es, Retrieved 24 July 2013 (in Spanish)