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Gallagher, Julia (2018) 'Misrecognition in the making of a state: Ghana’s international relations under Kwame Nkrumah.' Review of International Studies, 44 (5). pp. 882-901.

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This paper draws on a Kleinian psychoanalytic reading of Hegel’s theory of the struggle for recognition to explore the role of international misrecognition in the creation of state subjectivity. It focuses on Ghana’s early years, when international relations were powerfully conceptualised and used by Kwame Nkrumah in his bid to bring coherence to a fragile infant state. Nkrumah attempted to create separation and independence from the West on the one hand, and intimacy with a unified Africa on the other. By creating juxtapositions between Ghana and these idealised international others, he was able to create a fantasy of a coherent state, built on a fundamental misrecognition of the wider world. As the fantasy bumped up against the realities of Ghana’s failing economy, fractured social structures and complex international relationships, it foundered, causing alienation and despair. I argue that the failure of this early fantasy was the start of Ghana’s quest to begin processes of individuation and subjectivity, and that its undoing was an inevitable part of the early stages of misrecognition, laying the way for more grounded struggles for recognition and the development of a more complex state-subjectivity.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Hegel; Klein; Ghana; Nkrumah; misrecognition; statehood; IR
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Politics & International Studies
Subjects: J Political Science > JQ Political institutions (Asia, Africa, Australia)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
ISSN: 02602105
Copyright Statement: © British International Studies Association 2018. This is the accepted manuscript of an article published by Cambridge University Press in Review of International Studies, available online:
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 28 Aug 2018 08:20

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