The Political Unconscious
In this chapter I focus on developing the concept of the political unconscious.1 My main purpose is methodological: to establish the relations between discourse and the unconscious or, more precisely, to outline the unconscious elements of discourse and draw attention to the power of unconscious desires, which are already social and normative yet propagate a discourse of libidinal national and ethnic conflict. The readers will obviously realize the circular nature of this argument or ask themselves: What could be the unconscious of discourse? Does discourse have an unconscious? After all, is it not the power of discourse that forms the subject and subjectivity? To this parable of politics and life I now turn.
A few scholars have offered a theoretical psychoanalytic interpretation of the unconscious power of discourse, and this chapter is certainly framed into the dialogue of their work.2 Lacan’s influence is of course undeniable. Yet hatred is neither an entire text nor an obvious discourse, neither unseen nor obviously seen. What is missing from or foreclosed in national dis-