This article investigates discourse on nationalism and fetishism in Joseph Conrad’s Nostromo.
Drawing on theories and concepts about nation and fetishism from Marx, Freud, Žižek, Balibar and
Chatterjee, among others, it aims to reveal and to critique the ruthless exploitation and domination in
-century capitalism that is masked by transcendental idealism, the ideology of modernity, and
the fetishist logic of equal exchange on a worldwide scale. By treating the San Tomé Mine in the novel
as a totalizing force which generates and disseminates discourse on political economy and in which the
libidinal drives of the main characters are invested, this article attempts to integrate the apparently
disparate fields of the politics of national imagination and the psychoanalysis of individuals’ desires.
Discussion is focused on the following: 1) the fetishist logic generated by the Mine produces the
protean desires of the main characters in the novel and regulates their dissemination, displacement, and
transformation; 2) the nation in the novel is not an autonomous and metaphysical-substantialist concept
but a floating signifier subjected to partial displacement by other concepts like race and class; 3)
national independence cannot be achieved in a country like Sulaco since the scenario both for its
postcolonial independence and for the inevitable failure of this project has been furnished by Western
core countries; history has never occurred in Costaguana except in the form of endless repetition and
Asian Journal of Management and Humanity Sciences, 4(1) pp.50-74