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The fantasy of congruency: the Abbe Sieyes and the ‘nation-state’ problematique revisited

Mandelbaum, Moran

The fantasy of congruency: the Abbe Sieyes and the ‘nation-state’ problematique revisited Thumbnail


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Abstract

This paper offers an alternative reading of the Abbé Sieyès and the modern ‘nation-state’ problématique. I argue that the subject/object that is constituted in the early days of modernity is the incomplete society: an impossible-possibility ideal of congruency of population, authority and space. I suggest reading this ideal of congruency as a fantasy in that it offers a certain ‘fullness to come’, the promise of jouissance that can never be attained and is thus constantly re-envisioned and re-invoked. Drawing on discourse-analytical and psychoanalytical tools I explain the logic of fantasy before analysing Sieyès’ What is the Third Estate?, as I show how he critiques and fragments the old model of the state and how his reading of the nation is fantasmatic, a continuous project towards impossible congruency.

Acceptance Date Oct 15, 2015
Publication Date Dec 8, 2015
Journal Philosophy & Social Criticism
Print ISSN 0191-4537
Publisher SAGE Publications
DOI https://doi.org/10.1177/0191453715617503
Keywords congruency, fantasy, nation-state, society, Abbé Sieyès
Publisher URL http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0191453715617503

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