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Misrecognition and the Indian state: the desire for sovereign agency

  • Catarina Kinnvall (a1) and Ted Svensson (a1)


A focus on misrecognition allows us to move between levels of analysis in a holistic fashion. If misrecognition works through the conscious and the unconscious we can account for the many overlapping insecurities and securities believed to exist at the individual, group, or state level – and thus felt. These insecurities also present themselves through the categories used to describe them and the policies through which they become materialised, technologised, and depoliticised, often by closing down discursive boundaries. Lacan’s concepts of desire, real and lack are here important for understanding the impossibility of recognising something that cannot be recognised. Hence, a perspective that takes misrecognition not as an end result or as failed attempts to reformulate the exceptional as the normal, has the potential to rethink the political subject. In empirical terms, the article discusses how this process of misrecognition has been shaped in the Indian context of postcolonial state formation and articulations of sovereignty. We show how the Indian state is being rethought, restructured, and reimagined through Hindu nationalism and how the concept of misrecognition accounts for desires for sovereign agency and group cohesiveness, but also for resistance to various reimaginations of the Indian state.


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1 See Charlotte Epstein, Thomas Lindemann, and Ole Jacob Sending, ‘Frustrated sovereigns: the agency that makes the world go around’, Review of International Studies, 44:5 (2018), introduction to the Special Issue.

2 Epstein, Lindemann, and Sending, ‘Frustrated sovereigns’. Recent tendencies to equate India with a Hindu state clearly sits at the intersection of what Ayşe Zarakol in ‘Sovereign equality as misrecognition’, Review of International Studies, 44:5 (2018), this Special Issue, describes as the ‘dual task’ of the modern state, that is, ‘providing sovereignty for its citizens while also being sovereign over its citizens’. The fantasy of India as a Hindu state – as we fully explore below – ‘reveals’, to speak with Charlotte Epstein, in ‘The productive force of the negative and the desire for recognition: Lessons from Hegel and Lacan’, Review of International Studies, 44:5 (2018), this Special Issue, the ‘compensatory structure whereby political actors … are always chasing after what they do not have’, and which they cannot obtain.

3 Epstein, ‘The productive force of the negative and the desire for recognition’.

4 See, for example, Agné, Hans, ‘The politics of international recognition: Symposium introduction’, International Theory, 5:1 (2013), pp. 94176 ; Gustafsson, Karl, ‘Recognising recognition through thick and thin: Insights from Sino-Japanese relations’, Cooperation and Conflict, 52:1 (2016), pp. 255271 .

5 Weber, Elisabeth, ‘Ages of cruelty: Jacques Derrida, Fethi Benslama, and their challenges to psychoanalysis’, Mosaic, 48:2 (2015), pp. 115 (p. 2) .

6 Pippin, Robert B., Hegel on Self-Consciousness: Desire and Death in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2011), pp. 15, 19 .

7 See Zarakol, ‘Sovereign equality as misrecognition’.

8 Frosh, Stephen, ‘Psychoanalysis as political psychology’, in Paul Nesbitt-Larking, Catarina Kinnvall, and Tereza Capelos (eds), Palgrave Handbook of Global Political Psychology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 5571 . See also Greenberg, Jay R. and Mitchell, Stephen A., Object Relations in Psychoanalytic Theory (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983) ; Mitchell, Stephen A. and Aron, Lewis, Relational Psychoanalysis: The Emergence of a Tradition (London: Routledge, 1999) . There is also, of course, a ‘relational turn’ in IR that is relevant for the present argument insofar as it shifts attention away from substantive entities and onto processes and relations, and thereby allows for the state to be theorised as not reducible to an essence or a timeless set of core ‘immutable’ characteristics (for more on this, see David M. McCourt, ‘Practice theory and relationalism as the new constructivism’, International Studies Quarterly, 60:3 (2016), pp. 475–85). As McCourt writes, within a relational approach ‘agency is … not an inherent feature of individuals but an effect of the differential distribution of power, knowledge, and recognition in social topographies’. McCourt, ‘Practice theory and relationalism as the new constructivism’, p. 481.

9 Layton, Lynne, ‘What divides the subject? Psychoanalytic reflections of subjectivity, subjection and resistance’, Subjectivity, 22 (2008), pp. 6072 .

10 Fraser, Nancy and Honneth, Axel, Redistribution or Recognition: A Political Philosophical Exchange (London: Verso, 2003) .

11 Frosh, ‘Psychoanalysis as political psychology’, p. 64.

12 McNay, Lois, ‘The trouble with recognition: Subjectivity, suffering, and agency’, Sociological Theory, 26:3 (2008), pp. 271296 .

13 See, for example, Browning, Christopher and Joenneimi, Pertii, ‘From fratricide to security community: Re-theorising difference in the constitution of Nordic peace’, Journal of International Relations and Development, 16:4 (2013), pp. 483513 ; Croft, Stuart and Vaughan-Williams, Nick, ‘Fit for purpose? Fitting ontological security studies “into” the discipline of International Relations: Towards a vernacular turn’, Cooperation and Conflict, 52:1 (2016), pp. 1230 ; Rossdale, Chris, ‘Enclosing critique: the limits of ontological security’, International Political Sociology, 9:4 (2015), pp. 369386 .

14 See, for example, Kinnvall, Catarina and Mitzen, Jennifer, ‘An introduction to the Special Issue: Ontological securities in world politics’, Cooperation and Conflict, 52:1 (2016), pp. 311 ; Kinnvall, Catarina, ‘Globalization and religious nationalism: the search for ontological security’, Political Psychology, 25:4 (2004), pp. 741767 ; Steele, Brent, Ontological Security in International Relations (New York: Routledge, 2008) .

15 Giddens, Anthony, Modernity and Self-Identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1991), p. 54 .

16 Frosh, ‘Psychoanalysis as political psychology’. See Epstein for further expounding of how these registers of experience have specific relevance for the discipline of IR. Epstein, Charlotte, ‘Theorizing agency in Hobbes’s wake: the rational actor, the Self, or the speaking subject’, International Organization, 67:2 (2013), pp. 287316 and ‘Who speaks? Discourse, the subject and the study of identity in international politics’, European Journal of International Relations, 17:2 (2011), pp. 327–50.

17 Weber, Cynthia, ‘Queer intellectual curiosity as International Relations method: Developing queer International Relations theoretical and methodological frameworks’, International Studies Quarterly, 60:1 (2016), p. 19 .

18 Ibid., p. 22.

19 Lacan, Jacques, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psycho-Analysis: Book XI, trans. Alan Sheridan (London: Hogarth, 1978) .

20 Lacan, Jacques, The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book III: The Psychoses, trans. Russell Grigg (Kent: W. Norton, 2000) .

21 Jacques Lacan, Jacques Lacan: Écrits A Selection (London: Routledge, 1977).

22 Lacan, Jacques, The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book II: The Ego in Freud’s Theory and in the Technique of Psychoanalysis, 1954–1955, trans. Sylvana Tomaselli (New York: Norton, 1988) .

23 Adler-Nissen, Rebecca and Tsinovoi, Alexei, ‘International misrecognition: the politics of humour and national identity in Israel’s public diplomacy’, European Journal of International Relations, online first (2018), pp. 23, 20 .

24 Ibid., pp. 3, 5.

25 See Epstein, ‘Theorizing agency in Hobbes’s wake’, p. 301.

26 See Rogers, Juliet B. and Zevnik, Andreja, ‘The symptoms of the political unconscious: Introduction to the Special Issue’, Political Psychology, 38:4 (2017), p. 581 .

27 Pippin, Hegel on Self-Consciousness, p. 44.

28 Adler-Nissen and Tsinovoi, ‘International misrecognition’, p. 5.

29 Rogers and Zevnik, ‘The symptoms of the political unconscious’, p. 581. Given this, it seems undesirable to abide by Adler-Nissen and Tsinovoi’s limited ambition, that is, to regard misrecognition as politically relevant only ‘when it is publicly articulated as a specific discourse of misrecognition’. Adler-Nissen and Tsinovoi, ‘International misrecognition’, p. 20. This seems to tacitly assume – despite their claim that ‘misrecognition is inherent in any identification process’ – that there are moments of ‘recognition’ that equal a ‘stable pooling of identity’. See Gallagher, Julia, ‘Creating a state: a Kleinian reading of recognition in Zimbabwe’s regional relationships’, European Journal of International Relations, 22:2 (2016), p. 400 . This, to us, is a way too optimistic answer to Hegel’s apt questions, as formulated by Pippin: ‘[h]ow can a subject of thought and deeds that always experiences itself as beyond or more than its material states come to any resolution about who or what it actually “is”; how can it find satisfaction in the absence of any such resting place like its biological species-form?’. Pippin, Robert B., After the Beautiful: Hegel and the Philosophy of Pictorial Modernism (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2014), p. 46 .

30 Lacan, The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book III.

31 Lacan, Jacques Lacan: Écrits A Selection.

32 Epstein, ‘Who speaks?’, p. 336.

33 The Real can be seen as opposite to reality which is always fictional. The Real refers to meaning construction as ‘the truth of our desire’ and is always partial or entirely buried in our unconscious. In contrast to the Symbolic and the Imaginary, which are characterised by their social dimension (a shared experience), truth is singular to each individual. This does not imply any kind of universal truth, however, but refers to the direct experience that escapes any grasp of representation, as seen in the common inability to decide what it is we really want or desire. Lacan, The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book II, pp. 51–5; Leupin, Alexandre, Lacan Today: Psychoanalysis, Science, Religion (New York: Other Press, 2004), pp. 4749 .

34 Ruti, Mari, World of Fragile Things: Psychoanalysis and the Art of Living (New York: State University of New York Press, 2008), p. 97 .

35 Solomon, Ty, The Politics of Subjectivity in American Foreign Policy Discourses (Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 2015), p. 32 .

36 Markell, Patchen, Bound by Recognition (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003) .

37 Frosh, ‘Psychoanalysis as political psychology’, p. 60.

38 Lacan, The Object of Psychoanalysis.

39 See Robinson, Andrew, ‘The politics of lack’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 6:2 (2004), pp. 259269 .

40 Bakhtin, Mikhail, The Bakhtin Reader, ed. Pam Morris (London: Arnold, 2001) .

41 For a similar argument in relation to the ‘creative’ side of ontological insecurity, see Solomon, The Politics of Subjectivity in American Foreign Policy Discourses.

42 Markell, Bound by Recognition.

43 Fanon, Franz, Black Skin, White Masks (New York: Grove Press, 1952) .

44 Freud, cited in Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks, p. 123.

45 This is also a theme explored in Freud who was concerned with the way in which trauma is not a simple or single experience of events but who instead argued that traumatic events assume their force in their temporal delay. Lacan, in comparison with Freud however, is predominantly concerned with the symbolic effect of language on the mind, which infers that the human capacity for symbolisation cannot be tackled by the same methods that are used to study the body’s functioning. See Lacan, The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book III and Leupin, Lacan Today.

46 Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks, p. 91.

47 Ibid., p. 124.

48 Quoted in Ross Truscott and Derek Hook, ‘Lessons from the postcolony: Frantz Fanon, psychoanalysis and a psychology of political critique’, in Nesbitt-Larking, Kinnvall, and Capelos (eds), Palgrave Handbook of Global Political Psychology, p. 140.

49 See Truscott and Hook, ‘Lessons from the postcolony’.

50 Fuss, Diana, ‘Interior colonies: Frantz Fanon and the politics of identification’, Diacritics, 24:2–3 (1994), p. 23 .

51 Shilliam, Robbie, ‘A Fanonian critique of Lebow’s A Cultural Theory of International Relations ’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 38:1 (2009), pp. 122, 128 .

52 Bhabha, Homi K., ‘Introduction’, in Franz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks (London: Pluto Press, 1986), p. xxvi .

53 Chatterjee, Partha, The Nation and Its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993) .

54 Chatterjee, The Nation and Its Fragments, p. 216.

55 Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty, A Critique of Postcolonial Reason: Toward a History of the Vanishing Present (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999), p. 248 .

56 Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty, The Post-Colonial Critic: Interviews, Strategies, Dialogues (London: Routledge, 1990), p. 1 . For further elaboration on Spivak’s writings, see Kinnvall, Catarina, ‘Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’, in Jenny Edkins and Nick Vaughan-Williams (eds), Critical Theorists and International Relations (London: Routledge, 2008), pp. 317329 .

57 See also Bhabha, Homi K. (ed.), Nation and Narration (London: Routledge, 1990) ; Chakrabarty, Dipesh, Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007) .

58 Markell, Bound by Recognition, p. 90.

59 Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks (1986 edn), p. xxvii.

60 Seshadri-Crooks, Kalpana, Desiring Whiteness: A Lacanian Analysis of Race (New York: Routledge, 2000) .

61 As evident throughout this article and in Lacanian theorising, it is not possible to speak of actual ‘authenticity’, only ways in which imaginations of the ‘authentic’ is posited and mobilised to fill the constitutive lack.

62 Axel, Brian R., The Nation’s Tortured Body: Violence, Representation and the Formation of a Sikh ‘Diaspora’ (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2001) .

63 Burgess, J. Peter, ‘The real at the origin of sovereignty’, Political Psychology, 38:4 (2017), p. 667 .

64 Rogers and Zevnik, ‘The symptoms of the political unconscious’, p. 582. It is important here to keep in mind what Burgess points out that ‘[t]he object of desire can only appear as an unspecified, indeterminate object’ and that ‘[t]he subject is driven, has its energy and ethos in … desire, but the desire seeks an elusive satisfaction’. Burgess, ‘The real at the origin of sovereignty’, p. 659.

65 See Pinkard, Terry, Does History Make Sense? Hegel on the Historical Shapes of Justice (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press), p. 42 .

66 Rogers and Zevnik, ‘The symptoms of the political unconscious’, p. 588.

67 Burgess, ‘The real at the origin of sovereignty’, p. 654, emphasis added.

68 Comaroff, Jean and Comaroff, John L., ‘Naturing the nation: Aliens, apocalyses, and the postcolonial state’, in Thomas Blom Hansen and Finn Stepputat (eds), Sovereign Bodies: Citizens, Migrants and States in the Postcolonial World (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005), pp. 120148 .

69 Hall, Stuart, ‘Who needs “identity”?’, in Stuart Hall and Paul Du Gay (eds), Questions of Cultural Identity (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1996) .

70 Bhabha, in Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks (1986 edn), p. xxvii.

71 Butler, Judith and Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty, Who Sings the Nation-State (London: Seagull Books, 2010), p. 66 .

72 Bhabha, in Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks (1986 edn), p. xxxiv. Bhabha is here commenting on Fanon’s discussion of the war in Algeria.

73 Butler, Judith, Laclau, Ernesto, and Zizek, Slavoj, Contingency, Hegemony, Universality: Contemporary Dialogues on the Left (London: Verso, 2000) .

74 This is consonant with Lacan’s encouragement to his patients to ‘cross the fantasy’ or to be ‘crossing the plane of identification’. Jacques Lacan, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis: The Seminar of Jacques Lacan Book XI, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller, trans. Alan Sheridan (New York: W.W. Norton, 1981), p. 273.

75 Solomon, The Politics of Subjectivity in American Foreign Policy Discourses.

76 Peabody, Norbert, Hindu Kingship and Polity in Precolonial India (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003) ; Price, Pamela G., Kingship and Political Practice in Colonial India (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996) .

77 Chatterjee, The Nation and Its Fragments.

78 India and Pakistan were established as independent states in August 1947. The immediate backdrop to this event was a hastily made decision by the British to, on the basis of the two-nation theory as propagated by the Muslim League, transfer power not to one, but two, successor states. Another major aspect of the transition from British paramountcy in the region was the coeval integration of 565 ‘princely states’ that had subsisted as independent polities yet deprived of the possibility to engage in diplomatic relations with other states and to, without British involvement, declare war. The demise of British rule marked the end of empire as well as the culmination of the twin branches of the Indian nationalist movement’s struggle, spearheaded respectively by the Congress and the Muslim League, to achieve self-determination.

79 Chatterjee, The Nation and Its Fragments.

80 Mitra, Subrata K., ‘War and peace in South Asia: a revisionist view of India-Pakistan relations’, Contemporary South Asia, 10:3 (2001), p. 377 .

81 Svensson, Ted, Production of Postcolonial India and Pakistan: Meanings of Partition (London: Routledge, 2013) .

82 Paul R. Brass, The Politics of India since Independence (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), p. 7, in Svensson, Production of Postcolonial India and Pakistan, p. 3.

83 The partitioned provinces of Punjab and Bengal in particular became sites of large-scale migration and communal violence during the second half of 1947. Unconfirmed figures speak of more than 12 million migrants and one million dead. Khan, Sammyh S. et al., ‘Lessons from the past for the future: the definition and mobilisation of Hindu nationhood by the Hindu nationalist movement of India’, Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 5:2 (2017), p. 478 .

84 Svensson, Production of Postcolonial India and Pakistan, p. 2. In a later part of his book, Svensson depicts India’s moment of independence as an ‘in-between moment’, one that allows for the question ‘what orders between orders?’ to arise and be addressed. Svensson, ibid., p. 166.

85 Svensson, ibid., p. 25.

86 Ruti, Mari, The Singularity of Being: Lacan and the Immortal Within (New York: Fordham University Press, 2012), p. 27 .

87 Zizek, Slavoj, The Parallax View (London: MIT Press, 2006), p. 38 .

88 Svensson, Production of Postcolonial India and Pakistan, p. 149.

89 Badiou, Alain, The Century (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2007), p. 56 .

90 See Epstein, ‘The productive force of the negative and the desire for recognition’.

91 Such a concealment of ‘founding violence’ is, we would contend, part of every attempt at speaking of statehood or nationality in singular, unified terms. What is specific about India in 1947 are the manifest, immediately tangible and observable qualities of such efforts, both as regards the violence itself and its simultaneous effacing.

92 Kaur, Ravinder, Since 1947: Partition Narratives among Punjabi Migrants of Delhi (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2007), p. 24 .

93 The partition, both as a lived, felt experience of individuals and for narrations of community and state identity, confirms the duality Hutchison sees in trauma, that even though it on the individual level often represents ‘a rupture of the social fabric upon which individuals rely, traumatic events can also help to form the social attachments needed to constitute community’. Hutchison, Emma, Affective Communities in World Politics: Collective Emotions after Trauma (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), p. 2 . In the case of the partition, it is, however, a frail and unreliable basis for such an ‘affective community’, always revisited by the event’s association with disorder, incongruence, lack of closure, etc. If Hegel was right in suggesting that ‘self-knowledge is self-constituting’, as we believe he was, the self-knowledge that the partition allows for is constituting a highly fractured, incomplete sense of self. See Pippin, After the Beautiful, p. 41.

94 Svensson, Production of Postcolonial India and Pakistan, p. 29.

95 See Epstein, ‘The productive force of the negative and the desire for recognition’.

96 See also Flower-MacCannel, Juliet, ‘Lacan’s Imaginary: a practical guide’, in Samo Tomsic and Andreja Zevnik (eds), Jacques Lacan between Psycoanalytics and Politics (London: Routledge, 2016), p. 79 .

97 Ogden, Chris, Hindu Nationalism and the Evolution of Contemporary Indian Security (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2014) .

98 Panikkar, K. N., Communal Threat, Secular Challenge (New Delhi: Earthworm Books, 1997) .

99 The term was used in V. D. Savarkar’s work Hindutva: Who is a Hindu? (1923), where he argued that the Aryans who settled in India at the beginning of history constituted a nation now embodied in the Hindus.

100 Ogden, Hindu Nationalism and the Evolution of Contemporary Indian Security.

101 Roy, Anupama and Singh, Ujjwal Kumar, ‘The masculinist security state and anti-terror law regimes in India’, Asian Studies Review, 39:2 (2015), p. 321 .

102 Pogodda, Sandra and Huber, Daniela, ‘India’s peacebuilding between rights and needs: Transformation of local conflict spheres in Bihar, North-East India and Jammu and Kashmir?’, International Peacekeeping, 21:4 (2014), pp. 447448 .

103 Krishna, Sankaran, ‘Cartographic anxiety: Mapping the body politic in India’, in Michael J. Shapiro and Hayward R. Alker (eds), Challenging Boundaries: Global Flows, Territorial Identities (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996), pp. 194195 .

104 Bhanu Mehta, Pratab, ‘Still under Nehru’s shadow? The absence of foreign policy frameworks in India’, India Review, 8:3 (2009), p. 216 .

105 Narlikar, Amrita, ‘Is India a responsible great power?’, Third World Quarterly, 32:9 (2011), pp. 16071621 .

106 Here, we draw on Lacan’s theorising, but even in Hegel we find the view that ‘the subject … is nonidentical with his [sic] own desires – that is, he is not fully absorbed into his desires – and, as nonidentical with those desires, he is the “other” to himself (in that he is now the other “thing” that raises the questions of what standards he, as an embodied agent should follow)’. Pinkard, Terry, Hegel’s Naturalism: Mind, Nature, and the Final Ends of Life (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), p. 59 .

107 Anand, Dibyesh, Hindu Nationalism in India and the Politics of Fear (London: Palgrave, 2011) .

108 McDonald, Ian, ‘Hindu nationalism, cultural spaces, and bodily practices in India’, American Behavioral Scientist, 46:11 (2003), p. 1565 .

109 Ogden, Hindu Nationalism and the Evolution of Contemporary Indian Security, p. 94.

110 Jason Burke, ‘The Indian election and the lessons the west can take from Narendra Modi’s popularity’, The Guardian (10 May 2014), available at: {}.

111 Ibid.

112 Anand, Hindu Nationalism in India and the Politics of Fear.

113 Alam, Javeed, India: Living with Modernity (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1999), p. 200 .

114 Adeney, Katharine, ‘A move to majoritarian nationalism? Challenges of representation in South Asia’, Representation, 51:1 (2015), pp. 721 . See also Kinnvall, Catarina, Globalization and Religious Nationalism in India: The Search for Ontological Security (London: Routledge, 2006).

115 Anand, Hindu Nationalism in India and the Politics of Fear.

116 See Khan et al., ‘Lessons from the past for the future’.

117 Jaffrelot, Christophe, The Hindu Nationalist Movement in India (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996) .

118 The RSS is a categorically Hindu nationalist organisation, and has involved Modi since he was eight years old. It has become the vanguard of Hindu nationalism and has infiltrated almost every institution in India – including education, the judiciary, democratic ministries, and more. RSS is rewriting history textbooks and creating propagandist training camps to inculcate children with their cause.

119 Misra, Amalendu, ‘Hindu nationalism and Muslim minority rights in India’, International Journal on Minority Rights, 7 (2000), pp. 118 ; Bhattacharya, Neeladri, ‘Myth, history and the politics of Ramjanmabhumi’, in Sarvepalli Gopal (ed.), Anatomy of Confrontation: Ayodhya and the Rise of Communal Politics in India (London: Zed Books, 1991) .

120 Soler, Colette, ‘Hysteria and obsession’, in Richard Feldstein, Bruce Fink, and Maire Jaanus (eds), Reading Seminars I and II: Lacan's Return to Freud (Albany: Suny Press, 1996), p. 267 .

121 Stavrakakis, Yannis, Lacan and the Political (London: Routledge, 1999) .

122 Amrit Wilson, ‘Gender violence, Narendra Modi and the Indian election’, Open Democracy Net (2013), available at: {}.

123 Sarkar, Tanika, ‘The gender predicament of the Hindu Right’, in K. N. Panikkar (ed.), The Concerned Indian’s Guide to Communalism (New Delhi: Penguin Books, 1999), pp. 131159 . On the gendered dimension of Hindu nationalism, see also Kinnvall, Catarina, ‘Feeling ontologically (in)secure: States, traumas and the governing of gendered space’, Cooperation and Conflict, 52:1 (2017), pp. 90108 .

124 Anand, Hindu Nationalism in India and the Politics of Fear, p. 98.

125 Zizek, Slavoj, The Sublime Object of Ideology (London: Verso, 1989) .

126 Stavrakakis, Lacan and the Political, p. 52.

127 Burgess, ‘The real at the origin of sovereignty’, p. 653.


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Misrecognition and the Indian state: the desire for sovereign agency

  • Catarina Kinnvall (a1) and Ted Svensson (a1)


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