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Stanton, M. (1990). Psychoanalysis in British universities: The Kent Case. Free Associations, 1U(20):104-113.

(1990). Free Associations, 1U(20):104-113

Psychoanalysis in British universities: The Kent Case

Martin Stanton

In October 1988, the University of Kent inaugurated the first Masters course in psychoanalytic studies in Great Britain. The event surprised many within the academic and psychoanalytic communities. They wondered how a new course in a new subject area could be set up at a time when higher education was experiencing unprecedented cutbacks. Furthermore, they were puzzled that this course was based in the Faculty of Humanities, in a university some distance from North London, the supposed ‘natural’ site for British psychoanalytic innovation.

The University of Kent is a ‘new’ university, founded in the midst of the 1960s' surge in higher education. Its institutions and administration are therefore based on ideas of educational democracy that emerged during that era. The professorial, for example, does not have an ideological or economic stranglehold on what is taught; staff are employed by faculties, rather than by traditional subject boards (such as History or English), so that interdisciplinary projects may be created on a faculty level. Lastly, student demand is taken very seriously, both at committee level, where students are prominently represented, and academically, where students expect recent ideas in new areas of research to be reflected in new courses.

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