This article, by Jakub Eberle, makes the case for taking fantasy seriously in IR. It argues for a Lacanian conception of fantasy as a type of desire-infused narrative through which subjects construct their social realities. The fantasy approach brings added value to the burgeoning IR literature on narratives and ontological security and develops it in multiple respects. First, it spells out the crucial, yet thus far rather implicit and unspecified role of desire in the functioning of narratives and in ontological security. Second, by introducing the notions of the ‘object’ of desire and transgression, the fantasy framework allows us to trace the channelling of desire into discourse. This leads us to basic methodological tools that can capture the ways how exactly ontological security is sought through narratives, which have thus far been developed only sporadically. Third, by viewing the subject as always incomplete and ontological security as ultimately unattainable, the fantasy approach provides a critical, explicitly politicised corrective to the existing scholarship. Rather than promoting ontological security as an ideal, it calls for challenging the closure it imposes on our social reality. These arguments are developed theoretically and illustrated with the case of Germany’s opposition to the Iraq war.
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