Interesting reads

This is not a real post, just a couple of interesting things I saw in the blogroll this week. On The Feminist wire: “Nina’s win epitomizes Audre Lorde’s comment, ‘The master’s tools will not dismantle the master’s house.’”; a heartbreaking post on how mothering made one woman understand her own mother better; and the month-long […]

Transference in education: Britzman at the CNPC conference

This past Friday I had the pleasure of attending part of the Canadian Network for Psychoanalysis and Culture’s first conference, The Freudian Legacy. I attended Deborah Britzman’s plenary talk “An unexpected novelty: Reading Freud’s technique papers with the arrival of pedagogy” and a panel session called Transsexualities featuring Oren Gozlan, Patricia Elliot, Trish Salah, and Sheila Cavanagh.

I must state up front that I am not fluent in academic language. I can read an academic paper the way I read in French – fairly slowly, giving my brain lots of time to parse infrequently used words, and giving myself permission to look up words I can’t figure out from the context. But I can’t really watch French movies or listen to French radio – I just can’t follow the language quickly enough. I also lack the background knowledge to make sense of allusions and cultural references. I might know that “Lacanian” means “pertaining to the work of Lacan”, but I have only a very hazy idea of what that means in the context of the field.

So it is possible – or rather, inevitable – that the majority of what I heard went far, far over my head. I found the panel discussion particularly difficult to follow. I also am generally unfamiliar with the conventions and context of the academic conference, only having been to one or two before, and always as a performer in something or other; I found the format a bit alienating in itself.

But it got me out of my comfort zone and introduced me to some new ideas, and there was free coffee – I’m not complaining or anything. So before I get into my reactions, here are a few terms which I looked up after the fact and which would have to been good to have known beforehand: Continue reading “Transference in education: Britzman at the CNPC conference”

Larry Hirschhorn’s “Folk Psychology of Money”

Larry Hirschhorn has an interesting post up right now called “The Folk Psychology of Money”. He posits that people project their anxieties about themselves and the future, as a coping strategy in face of the fact that so much of what determines the course of our lives is arbitrary and beyond our control, onto money.

At the extreme, some people develop a theory of money in which “hidden forces,” who create credit out of nothing, use this power to enslave us, in other words to eliminate contingency and the capacity for creative work. This fantasy paradoxically provides relief because it suggests that someone, some shadowy network, is actually in control. All is not chaos, and if we are smart enough, we can control the controllers. A larger number of people, less likely to be drawn to conspiratorial thinking, persists in thinking of money as a physical object that operates mechanically, as a way of avoiding the uncomfortable idea that the course of our lives, like our birth, is entirely contingent and unpredictable.

Continue reading “Larry Hirschhorn’s “Folk Psychology of Money””

A brief history of group relations

Before coming to work for Bureau Kensington, I had never even heard of group relations. Which is too bad, because it’s a fascinating and, I think, really important field. Group relations is the brainchild of a group of psychiatrists, psychologists and sociologists from The Tavistock Clinic (eventually the Tavistock Institute) who were interested in applying […]