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

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These qualities—for both the child and the adult—are the least pedagogical, because they are made from distress, vulnerability, and chance. The terror and constraint of education come from within, even as these impositions are found outside. 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.

Each time holds psychological consequences. To figure the work of after-education, we are brought back again to the arguments between Melanie Klein and Anna Freud, in which reality and phantasy and love and hate are the subjective conditions that allow education to disclaim the ways in which it also can be the grounds for social violence, thoughtlessness, and inhumanity. Giorgio Agamben’s (1999) meditation on the testimonies of Holocaust survivors offers a glimpse of the utter difficulty of making knowledge from traumatic devastation: “The aporia of Auschwitz is, indeed, the very aporia of historical knowledge: a non-coincidence between facts and truth, between verification and comprehension” (12).

What meaning can this devastating history offer to an DIFFICULT EDUCATION 31 understanding of our present? Where does the urge for reparation begin? We must ask that education take on all modes of inexplicability and still, somehow, allow for those who come after, the potential space: to think through their own affectation made from social breakdown, profound hatred, and woeful disregard in relation to the affectations of others no longer present. When Shoshana Felman (1992) asked about the relation between education and crisis, whether there is anything that education can or should learn from the ravages of the twentieth century, she too wondered how knowledge can be made from traumatic events, and how difficult knowledge is used, related to, and learned from.

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