A further piece from the forthcoming History of the Human Sciences special issue on John Forrester’s work on thinking in cases is now available online: “Throwing the case open: The impossible subject of Luisa Passerini’s Autobiography of a Generation,” by Matt ffytche. Abstract:
For John Forrester, the ‘case’, particularly in its psychoanalytic version, makes possible a science of the particular – knowledge open to the differences of individuals and situations. This article takes up that aspect of Forrester’s account that linked the psychoanalytic case with forms of autobiography – new narrations of that particular self. After Freud, many authors – literary and psychoanalytic – have taken up the challenge of narrating subjectivity in new forms, engaging a quasi-psychoanalytic framework (H. D., Walter Benjamin, Frantz Fanon, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick are examples). Focusing on Luisa Passerini’s text Autobiography of a Generation, which deals with the Italian experience of 1968, the article examines some of the features of such hybrid texts, and argues that psychoanalysis makes a contribution not just to the forms of self-investigation they pursue, but more significantly to the search for a radically new methodology of narration. Such models end up as ‘impossible’ cases, but in so doing they explore new interdisciplinary means for understanding the historical shaping of subjectivity.