Essere padri in una società senza progetto

Stefano Polenta


To understand what “to be a father” means today, we need to take into account the current historical-social context, characterized by the instrumental reason predominance, that depreciate the design dimension proper to the father’s function, hindering his ability to indicate meanings, future possible worlds, models of humanity. The meaning and the sense can not be the result of a technical organization (information is it) but, with Dewey, of the wholeness of the experience and of its natural push out towards the future. The lack of sense is thus compensated in the capacity of the mother’s function to provide care and meaning. Subtracted from the dialectic with the father’s “separating-design” function, at the maternal function does not remain that indulging in the gratification of care, as happens in many pedagogies that unilaterally insist on affectivity. Taking advantage of psychoanalytic tools and contributions and, in particular, of a conception of education as an “antinomy” (Bertin 1961a; 1961b), on the one hand, and as an interconnection of “two reciprocal directions of meaning”: educere and educāre (Bertagna, 2000, pp. 109 fol.), on the other hand, the present contribution will try to highlight how the true opportunity for changing the father’s role in today’s society is his transformation from authoritarian-father into a “designing father”.


paternal function; maternal function; design; instrumental reason; regression

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