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Anna Freud, Melanie Klein, and Psychoanalytic Histories of Learning

Deborah P. Britzman

Publication Year: 2003

In After-Education Deborah P. Britzman raises the startling question, What is education that it should give us such trouble? She explores a series of historic and contemporary psychoanalytic arguments over the nature of reality and fantasy for thinking through the force and history of education. Drawing from the theories of Anna Freud and Melanie Klein, she analyzes experiences of difficult knowledge, pedagogy, group psychology, theory, and questions of loneliness in learning education. Throughout the book, education appears and is transformed in its various guises: as a nervous condition, as social relation, as authority, as psychological knowledge, as quality of psychical reality, as fact of natality, as the thing between teachers and students, as an institution, and as a play between reality and fantasy.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. iii-iv


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pp. v


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. 1-32

Something about education makes us nervous. In fact, Sigmund Freud accords to education and civilization the development of various neuroses and unhappiness. Yet to imagine this view, the narratives of education must be conceived broadly as the means of both expressing and encountering reality and phantasy. All at once, the time and reach of education...

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pp. 33-69

Between 1942 and 1944, a series of “Extraordinary Meetings” occurred in the British Psychoanalytical Society in London over the future direction of child psychoanalysis. The integrity of the Society would be at stake, because a crucial decision that members would face was whether a single society could hold conflictive theoretical orientations to psychoanalytic practice and still recognize itself. Known as...

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pp. 71-95

Teaching about psychoanalysis in the university turns learning on its head; after all, so much belief about the nature of learning and teaching and what counts as its evidence must be held in suspense and so too must the teacher’s usual appeals to the student’s rationality, preparedness, and willingness. Moreover, however intellectually assured the teacher may be in this topic, her or his own learning also should be surprised. Sigmund...

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pp. 97-124

At the close of World War II, D. W. Winnicott (1994) addressed politicians and administrators, inviting them to consider the unconscious. It was a strange invitation, audacious really, because he knew something about the psychical difficulties of doing just that. Maybe Winnicott meant them to inquire into relations between the psychosis of war and the more...

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pp. 125-148

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s and Adam Frank’s (1995) introduction to the writings of psychologist Silvan Tomkins invites readers back into the transitional space of “theory kindergarten.”1 Not coincidently, the thought of this archaic space can only be proposed by a theory of psychology. And, true to its dissonant spirit, their first use works with the force of something like a swipe. They write: “You don’t have...

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pp. 149-170

Long after the Controversial Debates between Melanie Klein and Anna Freud, something fortuitous emerged to exceed its formal resolutions. Twenty years later, there was a moment of agreement—recognition, really—that gave pause to their adversarial relations. This did not occur face-to-face but was recorded through the small regard of mutual citation. They met through a shared topic that, in its very literal qualities, ...


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pp. 171-195


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pp. 197-208


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pp. 209-214

E-ISBN-13: 9780791487150
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791456736
Print-ISBN-10: 0791456730

Page Count: 222
Publication Year: 2003