René Schérer (born 25 November 1922 in Tulle) is a French philosopher and professor emeritus of the universite de Paris VIII. He was a prominent and influential academic peer to many of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century, including Michel Foucault and others who (alongside Schérer) signed the 1977 French petition against age of consent laws. Schérer wrote extensively about age-disparate relationships, including paedophila/pedophilia and child sexuality, before these terms became highly stigmatized and taboo after the 1980's. Schérer was, arguably, part of the 1st wave of the MAP Movement.
Information on Schérer is sparse the English-language, however, we provide links and quotations from these few English examples for readers in the next section. The Wikipedia page (translated from its more detailed French version) includes the following general information:
In the 1960s, when phenomenology dominated the philosophical field, René Schérer contributed to making Husserl's work known in France. He is also known as a commentator on Heidegger. After May 68, Schérer develops a thought of utopia and childhood influenced by Charles Fourier. Champion of a reinvention of pedagogy and the child-adult relationship, he analyzes the “childhood system”, that is to say the way in which permanent supervision of the child is instituted. In his main work, Emile perverti, Schérer speaks on this subject of the panopticon of childhood, shortly before Michel Foucault [sic] in Discipline and Punish [...] In the 1970s he was also involved in homosexual activism, and will remain known for having been the teacher and lover of Guy Hocquenghem, with whom he co-wrote two books. Criticizing the ubiquitous surveillance of children and the denial of their desires, René Schérer is accused of apologizing for pedophilia in his writings, which he denies. He was briefly accused in 1982 in the Coral case, before being exonerated and his accuser convicted of slanderous denunciation.
The French Paedophilia Discourse of the 1970s and Sexual Liberty for All: René Schérer's Philosophy
Though much has been produced in French, this article is the most extensive discussion of Schérer's writings on intergenerational issues to-date. We make it available as a PDF, here.
- Richard Mason. (2020). Disturbing Visions of Childhood: René Schérer's Writing in the 1970s, in Nottingham French Studies, 59:1, 80-96:
For Schérer, childhood is an idea or system, rather than a natural category of human existence. His stress on the social construction of childhood demonstrates the influence of the historian Philippe Ariès (1914–1984). In L’Enfant et la vie familiale sous l’Ancien Régime (1960), Ariès argues that the modern conception of childhood and what he terms ‘le sentiment de la famille’ emerged gradually from the early modern period onwards.
- Joseph Geraci. (1987). Interview: Rene Scherer, in Paidika, 1:2, 2-13:
[Editor: This interview is hosted at an external resource, and the document has no OCR]