About «Ce qu’il y a de meilleur en nous: Travailler et honorer la vie»


The author goes through Christophe Dejours’ latest book, Ce qu’il y a de meilleur en nous: Travailler et honorer la vie [The best of us: working and honouring life], which is a continuation of Dejours’ previous book Souffrance en France [Suffering in France]. In this works, Dejours extends the freudian concept of sublimation to the process of creation resulting from work, best understood as a form of self-realisation and of successful personal development.

At the same time, Dejours criticizes that neoliberal ideologies reduce work to an activity devoid of its own meaning, leading to new forms of enslavement and breakdown of the social bond, with disastrous consequences for and individual’s self-esteem and physical and mental health. In its ultimate form, these also lead to a degradation of culture.

Further, Dejours exposes the multiple suicides in France caused by the new neoliberal labour policies (France Télécom-Orange; Office National des Forêts-ONF). Finally, he talks about his play, “Enter the Resistance”, which was presented in Paris at the Artistic Theatre of La Bastille.

sublimation, neoliberalism in the workplace, mental illness, somatisation, suicide, psychodynamics of labour, intelligent work

[Automatic translation from Spanish]:

There, in the forests of the Burgundy region, Christophe Dejours was introduced to investigate what happened and, above all, to «listen» forest guards about the situation they were living in their work. This experience inspired him to write a play that I was lucky enough to be able to see in Paris at the end of January this year, when the Administrative Council of the International Association of Psychosomatic Pierre Marty (AIPPM) of which I am secretary, and of the seminar of improvement of psychosomatics that is held every year in Paris around Claude Smadja. The play titled «Enter the Resistance» was exhibited at the Artistic Theatre of La Bastille. Dejours himself was one of the actors in this play.

But let’s go back to the book The best of us… Dejours tells us that, until the beginning of 2000, the psychodynamics of labor was not only a taboo subject in psychoanalytic media, which considered working exclusively as a material and social reality, but was totally excluded from any debate.[…]

José María Franco Vicario
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