By Deborah P. Britzman

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

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

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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. This complex called into question the querulous relation of theory to practice. 7 My return to the Freud–Klein Controversies holds in tension a genealogy of a few psychoanalytic concepts disputed in the Controversial Discussions, consideration of contemporary educational problems read through the dynamics of the Controversies, and speculations on the psychical dynamics at work in education, then and now.

What, Bion wonders, makes new knowledge so threatening? Why are new ideas so difficult to digest that they seem to provoke mental indigestion and even regurgitation? Bion’s attempt to answer these questions draws on the work of his analyst, Melanie Klein, and her concepts of envy and gratitude. Envy is a particularly violent affect, different from its more common usage offered perhaps as a backhanded compliment of admiration, such as when we “envy” a colleague’s success or vacation. Klein’s (1957) essay, “Envy and Gratitude,” sketches a series of confusions in thinking that inhibits or undermines the capacity to craft meaningful relations with others.

With each Controversial Discussion the stuff of hostility grew larger, aggravated by the trading of rumors, accusations, recriminations, acrimony, personal attacks, name calling, and even public humiliation. These debates were taken personally, for part of the stakes involved the only personal tools that analysts have: interpretation, subjectivity, and a willingness to acknowledge the indiscretions of the unconscious, all of which are intimate, bound by neither the rules of consciousness nor civility.

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