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Raoul Vaneigem

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Raoul Vaneigem
Born (1934-03-21) 21 March 1934 (age 90)
Educationromance philology, the Free University of Brussels (1952 to 1956)
Notable workThe Revolution of Everyday Life
MovementThe Situationist International
This cartoon by Vaneigem, shown here on a page of the March 28, 1968 issue of Seattle underground paper Helix, was later published in Internationale Situationniste #12 (September 1969).

Raoul Vaneigem (Dutch pronunciation: [raːˈul vɑnˈɛi̯ɣəm]; born 21 March 1934) is a Belgian writer known for his 1967 book The Revolution of Everyday Life.

He was born in Lessines (Hainaut, Belgium) and studied romance philology at the Free University of Brussels from 1952 to 1956. He was a member of the Situationist International from 1961 to 1970.[1]


Vaneigem and Guy Debord were two of the principal theorists of the Situationist movement. Vaneigem's slogans frequently made it onto the walls of Paris during the May 1968 uprisings. His most famous book, and the one that contains the most famous slogans, is The Revolution of Everyday Life. In it, he challenged what he called "passive nihilism", a passive acceptance of the absurdities of modernism which he considered "an overture to conformism".[2]

According to the website nothingness.org,

The voice of Raoul Vaneigem was one of the strongest of the Situationists. Counterpoised to Guy Debord's political and polemic style, Vaneigem offered a more poetic and spirited prose. The Revolution of Everyday Life (Traité de savoir-vivre à l'usage des jeunes générations), published in the same year as [Debord's] The Society of the Spectacle, helped broaden and balance the presentation of the SI's theories and practices. One of the longest SI members, and frequent editor of the journal Internationale Situationniste, Vaneigem finally left the SI in November 1970, citing their failures as well as his own in his letter of resignation. Soon after, Debord issued a typically scathing response denouncing both Vaneigem and his critique of the Situationist International.[3]

After leaving the Situationist International, Vaneigem wrote a series of polemical books defending the idea of a free and self-regulating social order. He frequently made use of pseudonyms, including "Ratgeb", "Julienne de Cherisy," "Robert Desessarts," "Jules-François Dupuis," "Tristan Hannaniel," "Anne de Launay," and "Michel Thorgal." Further on, he defended freedom of speech in Nothing is sacred, everything can be said, edited by Robert and Emmanuelle Ménard, to whom the philosopher Michel Onfray dedicated his Traité d'athéologie, and later on Bruno Gaccio and Dieudonné M'bala M'bala, responded in Can everything can be said ?, prefaced again by Robert Ménard.

Partial bibliography[edit]


  1. ^ "Raoul Vaneigem". www.notbored.org. Retrieved 2017-03-21.
  2. ^ S. Critchley (2004), Very Little... Almost Nothing. p. 13.
  3. ^ www.nothingness.org, which also has additional biographical material. See also www.notbored.org.

Further reading[edit]

  • Pol Charles, Vaneigem l'insatiable, L'Age d'Homme, Lausanne, Suisse, 2002, ISBN 2-8251-1647-5
  • Grégory Lambrette, Raoul Vaneigem, St-Georges d'Oléron-Bruxelles, Editions Libertaires/Editions d'Alternative Libertaire, coll. Graine d'ananar, 2002
  • Laurent Six, Raoul Vaneigem. L'éloge de la vie affinée, Avin, Luce Wilquin, coll. L'Oeuvre en Lumière, 2004
  • Christian Adam, « Oublier Vaneigem » (pp. 5–83), in Résignez-vous !, Edilivre, Paris, 2015 (very critical pamphlet against Vaneigem's optimism).

External links[edit]