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LaMothe, R. (2008). Empire Stories: Imperious Objects and the Necessity of Fools. Psychoanal. Dial., 18(4):562-585.

(2008). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 18(4):562-585

Empire Stories: Imperious Objects and the Necessity of Fools

Ryan LaMothe, Ph.D.

In this article, I examine and depict the attributes of empire narratives and discourse, arguing that these dominant narratives quietly shape and represent shared motivations of U.S. citizens in their active or tacit support of national hegemonic policies. Using an amended version of Winnicott's notion of transitional objects, I describe how these narratives may be understood as imperious objects. The psychological defenses of weak dissociation, rationalization, and denial are used to explain, in part, why many U.S. citizens overlook perspectives and questions that would challenge empire stories and ignore the destructive consequences of deeply and long held expansionist policies and actions. In addition, the psychosocial functions of the role of the fool, in conjunction with psychological defenses, help explain the public perpetuation of expansionist policies.

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