Paul Verhaeghe

© Michiel Hendryckx
Frankfurter Buchmesse
Guest of Honour 2016

Paul Verhaeghe

1955, Roeselare
Author. Professor of clinical psychology and psychoanalysis.

Paul Verhaeghe studied psychology at Ghent and later gained a doctorate in psychology and psychodiagnostics. Since 1996 he has worked as a professor at Ghent University. He is an internationally recognised expert on Freud and Lacan, having written books such as Tussen hysterie en vrouw [Between Hysteria and Woman] (1996) and Over normaliteit en andere afwijkingen [On Normality and Other Defects] (2002). In 2011 he made his breakthrough to a large readership with Liefde in tijden van eenzaamheid [Love in Times of Loneliness] (an update of a book originally published in 1998), in which he presents a psychoanalytical approach to the postmodern relationship between man and woman. This was followed by Het einde van de psychotherapie [The End of Psychotherapy] (2009), Identiteit [Identity] (2012) and Autoriteit [Authority] (2015), in which he attempts to provide new support for the much-maligned concept of authority. His work has been translated into more than ten languages and has received several awards.

Links   Flemish Literature Fund   Translations   De Bezige Bij   Kunstmann

Recently translated into German

Antje Kunstmann Verlag, 2016
Translated by Claudia van den Block
Originaltitel: Autoriteit (De Bezige Bij, 2015)

A great deal is going wrong these days when it comes to authority. Politics and religion have lost their credibility and parents can no longer control the behaviour of their children. In this book Paul Verhaeghe investigates how authority functions, why so little value is placed on it nowadays and what the alternative might be. Attempts to restore the authority of the past are destined to fail and they quickly degenerate into forms of pure power play. As a society we are at a crossroads, with power in one direction and new authority in the other.

Verhaeghe seeks and finds a new interpretation in groups, which lend authority to an individual or an institution, whether they be parents’ associations, groups of active citizens or shareholders’ meetings. This shift is well underway in childrearing and education, politics and economics, and it is producing great results.
Verhaeghe has an important message. Everyone who is professionally concerned about authority – teachers, doctors and police officers, but above all politicians–should read his book.