, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 340–355

On Waiting for Something to Happen

Original Article


This paper seeks to examine two particular and peculiar practices in which the mediation of apparently direct encounters is made explicit and is systematically theorized: that of the psychoanalytic dialogue with its inward focus and private secluded setting, and that of theatre and live performance, with its public focus. Both these practices are concerned with ways in which “live encounters” impact on their participants, and hence with the conditions under which, and the processes whereby, the coming-together of human subjects results in recognizable personal or social change. Through the rudimentary analysis of two anecdotes, we aim to think these encounters together in a way that explores what each borrows from the other, the psychoanalytic in the theatrical, the theatrical in the psychoanalytic, figuring each practice as differently committed to what we call the “publication of liveness”. We argue that these “redundant” forms of human contact continue to provide respite from group acceptance of narcissistic failure in the post-democratic era through their offer of a practice of waiting.


psychoanalysis performance ethics encounter anecdote waiting 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan Ltd 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Roehampton UniversityLondonUK
  2. 2.University of LondonLondonUK

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