Paul Verhaeghe [BE]

On authority

On authority
On authority

16.11.2015

Politics and religion have lost their credibility and parents are losing control of their children. According to Paul Verhaeghe, we are at a turning point in history. The patriarchal form of authority – which has for centuries determined everything, both public and private – is finished. In Authority, his latest book, Paul Verhaeghe examines how we reached this point. He also sees an alternative: as a counter to top-down structures, he argues for the authority of the group. Parents’ associations and citizens’ groups are already demanding a reformulation of traditional authority. As a society we are faced with an interesting challenge. Do we dare let go of a system which, out of habit, holds onto traditional forms of hierarchy? Are we able to evolve towards a society where we bear responsibility and exercise authority together?

• Paul Verhaeghe is a clinical psychologist, psychoanalyst and acclaimed expert on Freud and Lacan. He is a professor at Ghent University. In 2012 he swept the book market with his work Identity.