Never-Ending Adolescence

A Psychoanalytic Study of Resistance
  • Farah Virani-MurjiEmail author
  • Lisa Farley
Living reference work entry
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)


In this chapter, we speculate about a psychic quality of resistance manifesting in a fantasy formation that we are calling “never-ending adolescence.” Also known as the Peter Pan syndrome, we argue that never-ending adolescence is made from a fantasy of not growing up that takes shape in a longing to dwell forever in “what we imagine as a time before” (Britzman, The very thought of education: psychoanalysis and the impossible professions. State University of New York Press, Albany, 2009, p. 43). We propose that the technologically driven quality of today’s adolescence amplifies this archaic fantasy structure, setting into motion the creation of nostalgic objects that have come to be known as “throwback” phenomena signifying fantasied portals into an idealized time of the childhood past. Such phenomena, we suggest, freeze time into “immobile sections” that secure a certainty of experience and resist what Julia Kristeva (Hatred and forgiveness. Columbia University Press, New York, 2013) calls the “mobility of duration” (p. 135, original emphasis). Against a backdrop of throwback phenomena, we theorize never-ending adolescence as marked by a halting resistance of time that defends against entry into a future plugged into an avalanche of both information and uncertainty. Through our discussion, we pose a challenge to developmental constructions positing adolescence as simply a forerunner to adulthood and rather suggest how we are all adolescents when we engage idealized objects and attachments that stall the mobility of time. The challenge for both teachers and students is to imagine ways of being and becoming that can make tolerable, and even enjoyable, the imperfections and frustrations of living a life that is less filtered and fuller for it.


Learning Resistance Ideality Adolescence Difficult knowledge 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.York UniversityTorontoCanada

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