Paul Verhaeghe / Paul Verhaeghe – Authority

Paul Verhaeghe – Authority

Paul Verhaeghe – Authority

Rights sold 

  • Kunstmann (Germany)
  • Scribe (World English)


Read our sample translation of Authority


About the book

A great deal is going wrong these days when it comes to authority. Politics and religion have lost their credibility and parents can no longer control the behaviour of their children. In this book Paul Verhaeghe investigates how authority functions, why so little value is placed on it nowadays and what the alternative might be. Attempts to restore the authority of the past are destined to fail and they quickly degenerate into forms of pure power play. As a society we are at a crossroads, with power in one direction and new authority in the other.

Verhaeghe seeks and finds a new interpretation in groups, which lend authority to an individual or an institution, whether they be parents’ associations, groups of active citizens or shareholders’ meetings. This shift is well underway in childrearing and education, politics and economics, and it is producing great results.

Remarkable. … What About Me? is one of those books that, by making connections between apparently distinct phenomena, permits sudden new insights into what is happening to us and why. – The Guardian

A well-considered and fierce indictment of the rat race we call our lives and the toll it takes on us. – NRC Handelsblad

The strength of Authority lies in its breadth. Verhaeghe connects, with apparent ease and in an accesible style, issues in all kinds of areas and at all levels, from poor upbringing [...] to macro-economic developments and the crisis of authority in politics. **** - Leeuwarder Courant


Clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst Paul Verhaeghe (b. 1955) is head of the psychoanalytical department at the University of Ghent. With his books Tussen hysterie en vrouw (Between Hysteria and Woman, 1996) and Over normaliteit en andere afwijkingen (On Being Normal and Other Disorders, 2002) he gained international recognition as an expert on Freud and Lacan. He acquired a broad readership with Liefde in tijden van eenzaamheid (Love in Times of Loneliness 1998, updated 2011) and Het einde van de psychotherapie (The End of Psychotherapy, 2009), while De effecten van een neoliberale meritocratie op identiteit en interpersoonlijke verhoudingen (The Effects on Identity of a Neoliberal Meritocracy) won him a prize for the best essay of 2011 from Liberales. The American edition of On Being Normal and Other Disorders (2002) was awarded the Goethe Prize. His work Identiteit (What About Me? The struggle for identity in a market-based society, 2012) was published in German, English, Korean, Slovenian and Chinese.  Autoriteit (Authority, 2015) is an encouraging and much-needed appeal to give a new, modern interpretation to authority.

© Michiel Hendryckx

Additional book information

  • Literary non-fiction
  • ISBN 9789023492818
  • Number of pages: 272
  • World rights: De Bezige Bij
  • Price: € 19,99
  • English sample available