Deconstructing Therapy: Performing the Common Sense User

Morten Nissen, Katrine Barington, Morten Halberg


In this article, we analyze non-mainstream social work in Denmark. We focus on how what we call a performative approach in both social work and research can expand the understanding of deconstruction. We argue that critical performance exceeds the negative moment of deconstruction, where we only know that we are non-clients, non-psychologists, non-directive. In performance, the potential Other with its complexity is formulated positively. This, we argue, provides a basis for what we call transformative users—users that participate in the production of the standards from which they let their lives be directed. We show that transformation is not only a matter of giving space for the subject, but equally a matter of giving space and attention to the collectives from where standards arise. In the final part of the article we turn the gaze toward ourselves, examining our collaboration in the research and the writing of this text, as a performative process.


performativity; deconstruction; transformative users; common sense; qualitative research

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Copyright (c) 2019 Morten Nissen, Katrine Barington, Morten Halberg

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