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 matters in schooling.

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

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The other side of this equation is spoiled by Victor DIFFICULT EDUCATION 23 Frankenstein, whose manic triumph, after the creature was given life, turns into a disillusionment in which he feels only horror toward his own awful experiment. Without a sense of indebtedness made from this terror, education would remain inhuman and our creature, along with Victor, would remain all too human. The preoccupation with what exactly the baby or the child is capable of, and with what adults ought to do with it, belongs to our modern sensibilities.

Neither Payne’s cautionary tact nor Anna Freud’s wish for cure could be realized. And Melanie Klein also would comment sadly, in the early part of the Society’s discussions, “I think we must face the fact that the situation in the Society is incurable” (cited in Grosskurth 1986, 305). In this chapter, I consider how these Controversies became—and have continued to be—controversial, not just to recount a history of child analysis but also to raise questions of our own contemporary education. As we will see, a painfully bitter dispute concerns the authority THE FREUD-KLEIN CONTROVERSIES AS A PROBLEM OF EDUCATION 37 of education as a process in and an outcome of relations between adult and child, adults and adults, and adults and the institutional setting.

But to ask what can we learn does not mean supplying a lesson that can somehow stabilize the utter difficulty of this interminable question. Alain Finkielkraut (2000) ends his reflection on the twentieth century by lamenting over the utter difficulty of changing the self and the power of “Minus K”: Life goes on, things happen, but nothing seems exciting enough to change modern man. Feelings reign freely, and ideology is defeated—at least for the time being—but the new age has not conquered the empire of resentment.

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