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Gonzalez-Torres, M.A. Fernandez-Rivas, A. (2014). Some reflections on nationalism, identity and sexuality. Int. Forum Psychoanal., 23(3):135-143.

(2014). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 23(3):135-143


Some reflections on nationalism, identity and sexuality

Miguel Angel Gonzalez-Torres and Aranzazu Fernandez-Rivas, M.D.

An individual's identity is gradually built upon a lifelong process of maturation. Sexual life and how our desire is channeled and expressed represent a key area of that global identity. Also, the nation to which we feel we belong constitutes another cornerstone of that complex structure. The obvious attraction that nationalism awakens in many parts of the world might be related to the facilitation of a valuable identity acquired by just belonging to a idealized group instead of through a tiresome and continuous effort. In this process, “others” are chosen by us to establish comparisons with our tribe, helping us through a mirroring process to shape our own image. We project upon those “others” all kinds of undesirable traits. Those attributions tend to be very similar, regardless of which specific groups are involved. The “others” are always lazy, dishonest, untrustworthy, dirty … . Interestingly, there are a specific set of “positive” attributions that are almost always present: the “others,” and specifically the men in that group, are sexually more potent, attractive, or able. This contradictory image of the “other” can help us to understand the complex dynamics, at the individual and group levels, that are present in radical nationalist movements, and to open up new fields of inquiry and exploration in which psychoanalytic theory can offer guidance.

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