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Abdel-Malek, H.S. (2020). Birth of a Nation-State: A Battle for Boundaries or Dialogue?. Int. J. Appl. Psychoanal. Stud., 17(1):49-64.

(2020). International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, 17(1):49-64

Birth of a Nation-State: A Battle for Boundaries or Dialogue?

Hana Salaam Abdel-Malek

In this article, I propose extending group and family psychoanalytic theories to understand the unconscious dynamics that may underlie a nation-state's constitution and the conflict that manifests during the process of establishment. I reflect on Lebanon's history, its birth, its development, and its crises during its process of “becoming.” An independent nation-state requires clear borders or a body envelope to build itself; otherwise, its psychic envelope will fail to contain and transform primitive transgenerational persecutory and annihilating anxieties of its nation-group and its citizens. I also analyze whether Lebanon's difficulty in delineating its borders has left it in a state of confusion with its two Siamese neighbors and characterize its group psychic apparatus as a pregenital, narcissistic, “incestual” mode of family functioning. I then reflect on whether Lebanese citizens are metaphorically part objects, who enact, through their fraternal pacts, the unconscious fratricidal fantasies of the archaic fraternal complex. Through these psychoanalytic reflections, I hope to contribute to the national and international dialogues and facilitate sibling countries to better mourn their original symbiotic state, thus allowing the Lebanese, as a result, to build their own nation-state.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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