1st Edition

Managed Lives: Psychoanalysis, inner security and the social order
Psychoanalysis and the Administrative Task

ISBN 9780415692205
Published October 4, 2013 by Routledge
250 Pages

USD $54.95

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Book Description

An inherent tension exists in the history of psychoanalysis and its applications between the concepts of freedom and security. In Managed Lives, this tension is explored from the point of view of therapeutic experience. Set against the background of Freud’s contested legacy, the book examines ways of managing oneself under psychiatric supervision, in the analytic encounter and in the emotional and moral contexts of everyday life.

Through a series of detailed case studies Steven Groarke addresses therapeutic experience as a formation of managed society, examining the work of Donald Winnicott on types of management, Colin Murray Parkes on bereavement and Anthony Giddens on the sociological appropriation of psychoanalysis. Managed Lives forms an original critical analysis of contemporary managerial culture and its self-reflexive project as well as presenting the idea of management as a source of inner security and vital morality. Presented in three parts, the book addresses:

  • The Criterion of Maturity
  • The Reflexive Norm
  • The Managed Society

Together, the book’s arguments provide a fresh and challenging perspective on post-Freudian uses of faith, the risks of critical rationality and the difficulties of living an ethical life under modern conditions.

Managed Lives is ideal for academics and research students working on psychoanalytic studies, social theory and mental health studies as well as students and trainees taking courses in psychotherapy, counselling, social work and health and social care.

Table of Contents

Part I: The Criterion of Maturity. The Winnicottian Typology of Management. Reclamation and the Unthinkable. Society’s Permanent Task. Part II: The Reflexive Norm. Norms and Facts. Illness and Identity. Vulnerability and Trauma. Part III: The Managed Society. Basic Security. The Regulated Life. Conclusion: The Difficult Task.

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Steven Groarke is a reader in Social Theory at the University of Roehampton, a psychoanalyst of the British Psycho-Analytical Society and a member of the International Psychoanalytical Association. He currently works in private practice in London.


"This is a difficult book, dense with learned references, and I have certainly not done it justice by the simplified overview I have attempted here. Few readers will be familiar with all three of Groarke’s thinkers and it serves as a valuable introduction and commentary on their thought."- David M. Black, The International Journal of Psychoanalysis


"Managed Lives not only provides an excellent overview of the relationship between psychoanalysis and governmentality, but furthermore, suggests a conceptual framework that could help guide ethical living at a time in which institutions of social control are commonly perceived as being ‘finished’ (Deleuze,1992: 4). That is, Managed Lives offers a way of thinking about the regulation of life in a progressive and potentially transformative manner." – Megan Clinch, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, UK, for The British Sociological Association