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Acting Out in Groups

1999

Laurence A. Rickels, editor

Acting Out in Groups

Examines outrageous public behavior and what it can tell us about cultural and political change.

Here, writers, literary theorists, and cultural critics explore therapeutic descriptions of acting out in relation to the conduct on daytime TV talk shows, at political rallies, and in performance. Topics include the Jenny Jones murder trial; the response of psychoanalysts to the acclaimed documentary Crumb; the place of the Berlin Wall and other national symbols in German life; and the roles of aggression and discipline in childhood development.

Contributors: Kathy Acker, Peter Canning, Julie Carlson, Susan Derwin, Andrew Hewitt, Gary Indiana, Rhonda Lieberman, Catherine Liu, Fred Moten, John Mowitt, Klaus Theweleit, Elisabeth Weber.

The International Psychoanalytic Congress gathered in 1967 to define the clinical concept of “acting out.” Thirty years later, our society, which once labeled those who exhibited excessive aggression as delinquent, celebrates outrageous public behavior. In Acting Out in Groups, writers, literary theorists, and cultural critics explore therapeutic descriptions of acting out in relation to the conduct condoned, even encouraged, on daytime TV talk shows, at political rallies, and in performance.

Through a deconstruction of “acting out,” this collection seeks a new, performative style of critical discourse that incorporates the exuberance and intensity of acting out for analytical ends. Topics include the Jenny Jones murder trial; the response of psychoanalysts to the acclaimed documentary Crumb; the place of the Berlin Wall and other national symbols in German life; and the roles of aggression and discipline in childhood development.

Contributors: Kathy Acker; Peter Canning; Julie Carlson, U of California, Santa Barbara; Susan Derwin, U of California, Santa Barbara; Andrew Hewitt, SUNY Buffalo; Gary Indiana; Rhonda Lieberman; Catherine Liu, U of Minnesota; Fred Moten, NYU; John Mowitt, U of Minnesota; Klaus Theweleit; Elisabeth Weber, U of California, Santa Barbara.

Acting Out in Groups

Laurence A. Rickels is professor of German literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

About This Book