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Proving nothing and illustrating much: the case of Michael Balint

Bar Haim, Shaul (2020) 'Proving nothing and illustrating much: the case of Michael Balint.' History of the Human Sciences, 33 (3-4). pp. 47-65. ISSN 0952-6951

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Abstract

John Forrester’s book Thinking in Cases does not provide one ultimate definition of what it means to ‘think in cases’, but rather several alternatives: a ‘style of reasoning’ (Hacking), ‘paradigms’ or ‘exemplars’ (Kuhn), and ‘language games’ (Wittgenstein), to mention only a few. But for Forrester, the stories behind each of the figures who suggested these different models for thinking (in cases) are as important as the models themselves. In other words, the question for Forrester is not only what ‘thinking in cases’ is, but also who might be considered a ‘thinker in cases’. Who could serve as a case study for such a thinker? The major candidates that Forrester considers in his book to be ‘thinkers in cases’ are Kuhn, Foucault, Freud, and Winnicott. In what follows, I will argue that one name is missing from this list, as well as from Forrester’s book more generally: Michael Balint. This name is missing not only because Balint was a great ‘thinker in cases’, but also because we have some reasons to believe that Forrester himself thought so and wished to add him to the list. Forrester, I will argue, found in Balint an exemplar for a thinker in cases that combined elements from Winnicott’s psychoanalytic theory and Foucault’s philosophy of the case-based sciences.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: history of psychoanalysis, Michael Balint, John Forrester, Michel Foucault, pastoral power
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2019 09:48
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 14:05
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/25466

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