chapter  2
29 Pages

Narratives of the Nation

ByEric Cheyfitz

The nation is an ideological construction necessary to interpellate subject-citizens into the state, which, following French political theorist Louis Althusser, is the material apparatus of enforcement, either by instruction or by force. The struggle of socialist and Indigenous with neoliberal agendas is in evidence in all the nations cited in this chapter, except Tunisia, which is struggling with trying to implement liberal democracy, while under attack from ISIL, at an historic moment when the time of liberal democracy anywhere on the globe may have passed. The foundation of the exceptionalist narrative is the figure of the American Dream, and the foundation of the dream is home ownership. Conjoined to its domestic imaginary, the narrative of American Exceptionalism projects a vision of the United States as the world's leader, "the one indispensable nation" in Obama's 2012 State of the Union address, or in the words of Thomas Jefferson's First Inaugural, "the world's best hope".