Nationalism as Enjoyment

[...] the ideal levelling of all social differences, the production of the citizen, the subject of democracy, is possible only through an allegiance to some particular national Cause. If we apprehend this Cause as the Freudian Thing (das Ding), materialized enjoyment, it becomes clear why it is precisely “nationalism” that is the privileged domain of the eruption of enjoyment into the social field: the national Cause is ultimately the way subjects of a given nation organize their collective enjoyment through national myths. What is at stake in ethnic tensions is always the possession of the national Thing: the “other” wants to steal our enjoyment (by ruining our “way of life”) and/or has access to some secret, perverse enjoyment.

Slavoj Zizek, Looking Awry: An Introduction to Jacques Lacan through Popular Culture, p. 165

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