Fiery Soul Fantasies in a Project-based Welfare Setting: the Case of Project School Sports

Rasmus Bergmann*, Holger Højlund

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This article addresses how desire and fantasy function in a project-based welfare setting by examining a case from the context of Danish educational policy. Drawing on Žižek and others’ development of psychoanalytical concepts derived from Lacan, the paper shows through an interview-based empirical study how project managers believe in the project they manage through their fantasies about highly passionate ‘fiery souls’. However, as the paper argues such managerial fiery soul fantasies add a fantasmatic superstructure to the professional ideals in the reformed Danish public school in a way that challenges the profession category itself by eroding the difference between professionalism and volunteerism. The conclusion is that the secret of the fiery soul rather is its ability to make project-based welfare policy appear coherent than it is the almost supernatural abilities of particular individuals.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical Policy Studies
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)261-279
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Published online: January 26, 2018


  • Cross-sectional partnership
  • Educational policy
  • Fantasy
  • Fiery soul
  • Project-based welfare policy
  • Žižek

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