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Psychoanalytic Theory

  • By: Deborah P. Britzman
  • In: Encyclopedia of Curriculum Studies
  • Edited by: Craig Kridel
  • Subject:Cultural Studies (general), Curriculum & Content (general), Curriculum Studies

Like the signifier “education,” psychoanalytic theory may be associated with a wide range of events, histories, ideas, people, practices, arguments, hopes, failures, fears, fantasies, institutions, and cultural (nonclinical) applications. Although both are an experience and a means to modify it, psychoanalytic theory signifies deconstruction of the subject's intentions. This theory takes apart and then reconstitutes explicit or intended meaning to reach what is latent and implosive in any utterance: something unsaid and unintended, something unconscious that exerts and pressures, in negated form, the fantasies, anxieties, and desires of the speaking subject. How words come to matter, lose their object, signify lack, and then resist this thinking are all met by its method and goal of free association, that is, speaking whatever is in one's mind ...

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