After-Education: Anna Freud, Melanie Klein, and by Deborah P. Britzman

By Deborah P. Britzman

Makes use of psychoanalytic theories of studying to discover modern concerns in schooling.

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Extra info for After-Education: Anna Freud, Melanie Klein, and Psychoanalytic Histories of Learning

Sample text

If psychical development is the least pedagogical experience because it is so subject to the helplessness of our beginnings, to the passion for ignorance, in short, to the unconscious and the return of this repressed, then these modes of resistance offer us another sense of the difficulties of that other development, namely education. How the human learns is, of course, a very old problem in education, one that is difficult to separate from its other side: upbringing, pedagogical exchange, and how (or whether) one teaches the human to become human.

There was plenty of discussion over the nature of the analytic relation, the goals, timing, and activities in child analysis, and the nature of psychoanalytic knowledge. But what was lost, when it came to the education of adults, was the problem of where the adult’s imagination might come from and the question of how theory emerges from the strangely singular encounter of the analytic session, meandering through the transference and counter-transference. These problems of imagination and theory are intractable, because in professional training it is difficult to pry apart the learning of ideas from the learning of authority, a dilemma of conflict that constitutes the indelible signature of the transference.

The fact of natality thus references the promise of sociality for renewal and continuity, a promise easily broken. Kristeva’s (2001a) meditation on Arendt’s thinking centers on this very human condition, and she may as well have been referring to processes of education: “Arendt reconstructs the political realm from scratch based on two key notions— the birth of individuals and the frailty of actions—and on two psychopolitical interventions—forgiveness and the promise” (204). These dilemmas of the unknown are, for Arendt, the crisis of education.

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