The Nation/State Fantasy and the Production of the ‘International’ in IR Theory

  • Moran M. MandelbaumEmail author


This chapter interrogates the fantasy of nation/state congruency in twentieth-century thought, focusing on traditional post–WWII IR (International Relations) theory, showing how congruency is now intertwined with the knowledge of the ‘international’. The chapter has three main arguments: first, traditional IR theory construes the fantasy of nation/state congruency around the ‘nation-state’ couplet and as constitutive of the ‘international’. Second, however, traditional IR discourse does not see the ‘nation-state’ or nationalism as fait-accompli, neither historically nor normatively. Traditional IR theory, therefore, does not take the ‘nation-state’ as ontologically given. Third, the fantasy of congruency is now transposed onto the ‘international’, clearly seen through the theorisation of the anarchical international, the danger of (nuclear) war and/or the need for collaboration and institution building in order to prevent conflict and/or achieve peace.


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social, Political and Global StudiesKeele UniversityKeeleUK

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