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Driant, A. (2009). Cliniques de la délinquance [Clinical Studies of Delinquency] by August Aichhorn Champ social Editions, Nîmes, 2007; 240 pp; €15. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 90(1):160-167.
(2009). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 90(1):160-167
Cliniques de la délinquance [Clinical Studies of Delinquency] by August Aichhorn Champ social Editions, Nîmes, 2007; 240 pp; €15
Review by: Anouk Driant
It has taken more than half a century for this anthology of papers and lectures by August Aichhorn, the famous Viennese educationalist and psychoanalyst, to be published in French, in a translation edited by Florian Houssier and François Marty, both specialists in adolescent studies. Houssier and Marty have included in this anthology a biography of Aichhorn, a critical study of his thinking and a comprehensive bibliography in German, all of which clarify and develop the work that Aichhorn devoted to what he called ‘wayward youth’ [die Verwahrloste Jugend]. This French version carries the title Cliniques de la délinquance [Clinical Studies of Delinquency].
It is important to emphasize a certain number of points. The title itself, with ‘Studies’ in the plural, bears witness not only to the richness and independence of Aichhorn's clinical thinking but also to the way in which, throughout his life, he used his acumen as a clinician to promote the educative and therapeutic guidance of ‘wayward youth’. That very expression summarizes the mixture of deprivation, abandonment and distress which these youngsters usually turn around and express as enacted transgressions -thereby becoming juvenile delinquents and social outcasts.
These are ‘clinical studies’, because Aichhorn constantly observed, studied, thought about and clarified these pathological forms of behaviour with the - always strategic - aim of reaching an improved diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic understanding. In turn, for more than 20 years, his clinical practice inspired his immense didactic work with educators and social workers.
August Aichhorn was a pioneer in this field. Even today we could probably say that no one else has gone as far as he did.
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