Lisa Farley’s examination of psychoanalysis and childhood development receives Outstanding Book Award

Lisa Farley
Lisa Farley

York University Associate Professor Lisa Farley‘s book, Childhood Beyond Pathology: A Psychoanalytic Study of Development and Diagnosis, has been selected as the winner of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) 2020 Outstanding Book Award.

In the book, published in 2018, Farley describes how concepts from psychoanalysis can help shed light on questions in childhood development.

She examines debates in the fields of education, childhood studies and psychology that argue over how children should be treated and who they should become. In focusing on times when adults disagree, she critiques the notion of a singular expert who can settle questions about a child’s detour from normative scripts of development.

“Winning the AERA Outstanding Book Award is a wonderful surprise,” Farley said. “The awarding Division B (Curriculum Studies) is comprised of courageous scholars, many of whom I have admired since attending my very first AERA conference in 2002.”

Cover of Lisa Farley's new book
Childhood Beyond Pathology: A Psychoanalytic Study of Development and Diagnosis

“I continue to be inspired by colleagues in the curriculum community and I am grateful for this recognition,” she continued. “I am particularly proud that psychoanalysis – the theoretical framing of my book – has been noted as a generative discourse in the context of historical, political, philosophical and social inquiries into education, childhood and development.”

Although generally intended for a scholarly audience, Farley is confident her book is relevant to a wide array of people because it addresses issues that so many teachers face, including the problem of diagnosis, issues of ableism and disability, anti-Black racism in schooling and society, ongoing legacies of colonial history and transgender childhoods.

The Outstanding Book Award was established to acknowledge and honour each year’s best book-length publication in education research and development. To have been considered for the 2020 Outstanding Book Award, a book must be concerned with the improvement of the educational process through research or scholarly inquiry, must have a research base and must have a 2018 or 2019 copyright date.

Farley joined the Faculty of Education at York University in 2007. Her research considers the uses of psychoanalysis in conceptualizing dilemmas of historical representation, pedagogy and childhood.

Childhood Beyond Pathology: A Psychoanalytic Study of Development and Diagnosis is available for purchase from SUNY Press.