, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 275–297 | Cite as

Fantasmatic Transactions: On the Persistence of Apartheid Ideology

  • Derek HookEmail author
Original Article


Apartheid ideology presents traditional historiography with a series of conundrums: the difficulty of separating historical from subjective agency; the paradoxical status of ideologues who both author ideology and are nonetheless also subject to the spread of its ideas; the issues of the non-material benefits that appear to drive its ideological system. Taking as its starting point J.M. Coetzee's reflections on these issues, this paper builds on his promising intuition of the notion of “fantasmatic rewards” as a crucial explanatory element in understanding the “mind of apartheid”. Crucial in this respect are a number of Lacanian concepts (desire, the Other, fantasy, objet petit a, alienation and separation). Recourse to these notions enables us to provide a series of responses to the above dilemmas of apartheid ideology. Such concepts, moreover, arguably do greater conceptual justice to the inter-implication of the Other and the subject, that is, to the inter-implication of the trans-subjective socio-historical substance and unconscious subjectivity.


apartheid ideology desire Other agency fantasy 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan Ltd 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.London School of Economics and Political Science, Institute of Social PsychologyLondonUK

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