Desiring development? Psychoanalytic contributions to antidevelopmental psychology

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This paper explores how psychoanalytic ideas might support a project of critiquing the developmental paradigm as it influences, and links, models of economic and individual development on which educational policy and practice rely. After outlining the conceptual domain and questions at issue, the paper rereads some key claims about Enlightenment and its relationship with representations of immaturity as inviting scope for reinterpreting contemporary intensifications of developmentalism. This provides some further rationale and focus for the turn to psychoanalysis as a critical conceptual and methodological resource (although with some key qualifications). Ideas drawn from feminist and postcolonial engagements with psychoanalysis are used to inform discussion of two indicative texts about childhood, drawing on contemporary Lacanian interpretations that are applied to address the problematic of childhood, before finishing with some speculations on alternative modes of engagement with Enlightenment and developmental approaches. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-74
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013


  • childhood
  • Enlightenment
  • humanism
  • Lacan
  • modernity
  • postcolonial


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