6.30pm, Tuesday 1 April 2014
This paper brings aspects of Lacanian psychoanalysis to bear on the development of current neoliberal management strategies in universities. Methodological principles are extracted from Lacan’s 1953 foundational text ‘The Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis’; the principles concern the application of psychoanalysis, the place of speech as site of truth, language conceptualised here as psychoanalytic discourse, the gap between speech and language manifested in alienation and symptoms, resistance expressed in jokes, and the formation of specific domains in which psychoanalytic reasoning is operative today. This is followed by a review of the distinctive forms of management of subjectivity in higher education which realise the worst aspects of the problems Lacan identifies in his text, and more; knowledge as grounding for education and interpretation, treatment underpinned by charitable concern, and the performance of expertise tied to power that is assumed to ground the success of analysis. I put these principles to work on a brief case example in which we see the logic of fantasy staged in a particular organisational context, and conclude with comments on way ‘analysis’ takes place outside the clinic.
Ian Parker is a practising psychoanalyst. He trained with the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research(CFAR) in London, and became an Analyst of the Centre in 2003. He is registered with the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP). He is also a member of the London Society of the New Lacanian School and of the College of Psychoanalysts – UK.
Lacanian psychoanalysis is a ‘talking cure’ that developed in the tradition of Freud’s invention of the unconscious. Lacan’s work is resistant to attempts to normalise certain kinds of experience or pathologise others. It does not aim to adapt people to society but to allow truth to be spoken.