Archive for the 'Some important people in this workshop' Category

Images for the opening week. More images will be posted soon.

Erving Goffman



Issu d’une famille juive d’origine ukrainienne ayant rejoint le Canada à la fin du XIX° siècle, Erving Goffman est né le 11 juillet 1922 à Mannville dans la province d’Alberta. Il entreprendra des études de sociologie à l’université de Toronto (1944) où il sera l’élève de Ray Birdwhistell, puis à l’université de Chicago (1945) où il sera l’élève de Helbert Blumeret Everett Huges. En 1952, dans la lignée des enquêtes participatives inaugurée par B. Malinowski, il part pour les iles Shetland, au nord de l’Écosse, observer la vie locale pendant douze mois. Il se fait passer pour un étudiant intéressé par l’économie agricole : en réalité, il collecte des données pour sa thèse de doctorat qu’il soutient en 1953 Continue reading ‘Erving Goffman’

Some important people in this workshop: R. D. Laing and David Cooper

R.D. Laing was born in Glasgow in 1927 and he studied medicine at the University of Glasgow and went on to become a psychiatrist. His first experiment in changing the way people designated the mentally ill took place at Glasgow’s Gartnavel Hospital where he and colleagues radically altered the treatment regime in a long-term women’s ward.

Laing moved to London to work at the Tavistock Clinic and trained as a psychoanalyst at the Institute of Psychoanalysis. Laing sought to develop what he called ‘an existential-phenomenological foundation for a science of persons’ and sought to set out a description of the experience of those labelled schizophrenic. Such people, Laing argued, suffered from ontological insecurity, a lack of faith in their own and others’ reality which led them to create false self systems to fend off psychological and emotional catastrophe. Laing wanted to make madness and the process of going mad comprehensible, and to a great many people, including many of those afflicted, he did so convincingly. The discourse of the ‘mad’, he showed, if listened to in the right spirit could make a sense of its own. This was to be the line of thought that Laing would pursue for many years in The Divided Self (1960), Self and Others (1961), Sanity, Madness and the Family (1964) and The Politics of Experience (1967). Continue reading ‘Some important people in this workshop: R. D. Laing and David Cooper’

Some important people in this workshop: James Joyce



If you drive North from Venice you will eventually come to Trieste. It has, because of its history, acquired a non-Italian aura to those who have merely heard about it or noted its position on the map, but, entering it, you will have no sensation of leaving Italy. There will be copies of Telegiornale and Cinzano and Campari in the bars, Agip garages and the confections of Motta. Address the Triestines in Italian, meaning the version of the mother tongue used on the radio or television, and they will understand you, though their version of Latin has an X in it, and they turn the Latin H into a G. The letter survives from young Lucia Joyce to her father James, beginning ”Go una bella balla” – ”I have a lovely ball” – and that ”go,” which is ”ho” on radio and television, is a typical Slav mutation. Trieste is partly a Slav-speaking town, which is why the neighboring Slavs of Yugoslavia have wanted it for their own. Continue reading ‘Some important people in this workshop: James Joyce’

Some important people in this workshop: Franco Basaglia

Franco Basaglia (né le 11 mars 1924 à Venise et mort le 29 août 1980 dans la même ville) est un psychiatre italien critique de l’institution asilaire. Durant les années 1960, il est l’organisateur à Trieste et à Gorizia des communautés thérapeutiques qui défendent le droit des individus psychiatrisés. Son combat est à l’origine de la Loi 180 visant la suppression des hôpitaux psychiatriques, en Italie, devenue définitive en 1999.

Some important people in this workshop: Robert Walser

I would wish it on no one to be me.
Only I am capable of bearing myself.
To know so much, to have seen so much, and
To say nothing, just about nothing.


The Genius of Robert Walser

NOVEMBER 2, 2000, for the New York Review Of Books

J. M. Coetzee


On Christmas Day, 1956, the police of the town of Herisau in eastern Switzerland were called out: children had stumbled upon the body of a man, frozen to death, in a snowy field. Arriving at the scene, the police took photographs and had the body removed.

The dead man was easily identified: Robert Walser, aged seventy-eight, missing from a local mental hospital. In his earlier years Walser had won something of a reputation, in Switzerland and even in Germany, as a writer. Some of his books were still in print; there had even been a biography of him published. During a quarter of a century in mental institutions, however, his own writing had dried up. Long country walks—like the one on which he had died—had been his main recreation. Continue reading ‘Some important people in this workshop: Robert Walser’

Some Important People in this workshop: Italo Svevo

Italo Svevo, pseudonym of Ettore Schmitz (born Dec. 19, 1861, Trieste, Austrian Empire [now in Italy]—died Sept. 13, 1928, Motta di Livenza, Italy), Italian novelist and short-story writer, a pioneer of the psychological novel in Italy.

Svevo (whose pseudonym means “Italian Swabian”) was the son of a German-Jewish glassware merchant and an Italian mother. At 12 he was sent to a boarding school near Würzburg, Ger. He later returned to a commercial school in Trieste, but his father’s business difficulties forced him to leave school and become a bank clerk. He continued to read on his own and began to write.

Svevo’s first novel, Una vita (1892; A Life), was revolutionary in its analytic, introspective treatment of the agonies of an ineffectual hero (a pattern Svevo repeated in subsequent works). A powerful but rambling work, the book was ignored upon its publication. So was its successor, Senilità (1898; As a Man Grows Older), featuring another bewildered hero. Svevo had been teaching at a commercial school, and, with Senilità’s failure, he formally gave up writing and became engrossed in his father-in-law’s business. Continue reading ‘Some Important People in this workshop: Italo Svevo’