Laws of Inclusion and Exclusion: Nomos, Nationalism and the Other (2020) Law and Critique, 31 (2), pp. 163-181.
This article explores how and why contemporary nationalist ‘defence leagues’ in Australia and the UK invoke fantasies of law. I argue these fantasies articulate with Carl Schmitt’s theory of ‘nomos’, which holds that law functions as a spatial order of reason that both produces and is produced by land qua the territory of the nation. To elucidate the ideological function of law for defence leagues, I outline a theory of law as it relates to (political) subjectivity. Drawing on the work of Foucault, Agamben and Brown, I demonstrate how subjects form and are formed by historically contingent relationships to law in the contemporary neo-liberal moment. Turning to Lacan, I show how nationalistic invocations of law provide nationalists with a fantasy that the nation’s law represents them and holds them together (as the nation itself). Similarly, I argue that nationalists imagine that the other has their own law as well, which not only corresponds to the other, but functions as a legible index of the other’s otherness—a metonym for the threatening uncertainty and radical difference that the other represents. Drawing on Lacan’s concept of the big Other, I ultimately argue that nationalists aggressively (re)assert law not only to defend the nation, but to ensure their own symbolic and ontological security therein. © 2020, Springer Nature B.V.
Defence nationalism; Foucault; Lacan; Law; Neo-liberalism; Nomos