The Freud Museum

Events Archive

20 October 2017
doors open 7pm for drinks reception, event begins 7.30pm

Says Who? The Struggle for Authority in a Market-based Society

Dany Nobus in Conversation with Paul Verhaeghe

‘We live in an extremely controlling society in which authority has disappeared … traditional authority is lapsing into brute force … and we ourselves must take the first steps towards creating a new social order.’

This was the trenchant diagnosis by Paul Verhaeghe at the end of his acclaimed book about identity, What About Me? Now he returns to investigate another aspect of our lives under threat: authority.

In Says Who? Verhaeghe examines how authority functions and why we need it in order to develop healthy psyches and strong societies. Going against the laissez-faire ethics of a free-market age, he argues that rather than seeing authority as a source of oppression we should invest in developing it in the places that matter. Only by strengthening the power of horizontal groups within existing social structures, such as in education, the economy, and the political system, can we restore authority to its rightful place. Whether you are a parent or child, teacher or student, employer or employee, Says Who? provides the answers you need.

Paul Verhaeghe will give a short lecture, followed by a discussion with Dany Nobus and a Q&A.


Paul Verhaeghe PHD is senior professor at Ghent University and holds the chair of the department for psychoanalysis and counselling psychology. Since 2000, his interest has mainly focused on the impact of social changes on psychological and psychiatric difficulties. He has published eight books, with five translated into English. Love in a Time of Loneliness became an international bestseller and What about Me? was reprinted ten times within its first year of publication.

Dany Nobus is Professor of Psychoanalytic Psychology at Brunel University London, where he also convenes the MA Programme in Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Society. In addition, he is the Chair of the Freud Museum London, and the author of numerous publications on the history, theory and practice of psychoanalysis. In April 2017, he was presented with the Sarton medal of the University of Ghent for his contributions to the history and theory of psychoanalysis, which coincided with the publication of a new book entitled “The Law of Desire: On Lacan’s Kant with Sade”.

This website uses cookies to ensure we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website. Find out more about our cookie policy.