CEVI-WP 07-02

From Panopticon to Pan-psychologisation
Jan De Vos


The article, actually part of a research proposition, argues that psychologisation is not only the dissemination of the language of psychology into everyday life, but, it primarily makes all of us into students of psychology and thus into academic subjects. Hence contemporary subjectivity has to be situated in what Lacan called the ‘universitarian discourse’. Departing from this, the essay explores the paradox of modern man who as a Cartesian being is at risk of succumbing to the scientific gaze and losing touch with his subjectivity. At the other hand, it is asked whether the expanding action-radius of the psych-sciences, in their eager attempt to cover the whole of being, does not point to a fundamental kernel that cannot be covered or mastered: the dimension of the Real. From this follows – this is the central argument of the essay - that de-psychologisation or a celebration of real life offers no alternative to psychologisation. There is no pre-psychological context or experience: post-modern man is the homo psychologicus living in an a priori psychologised habitat. At the end of the essay, this is illustrated with the issue of why there are so many feminine students in psychology.

This working paper is now published as "From Panopticon to Pan-psychologisation, or, Why do so many women study psychology?" International Journal of Žižek Studies (2008) 2 (1): 1-20.

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