“all ideology hails or interpellates concrete individuals as concrete subjects, by the functioning

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“all ideology hails or interpellates concrete individuals as concrete subjects, by the functioning of the category of the subject”. (Althusser 160) The interpellation process, as introduced by Althusser, is a process where individuals recognize themselves through ideology. Althusser explains this by giving an example of the police hailing “Hey, you there!” The hailed individual would then turn around and by doing this, “he becomes a subject”. It should also be noted that the recognition is mutual: when the Subject recognizes him as a subject, the subject also needs to accept his subject-hood to the Subject. According to Althusser, subjects are constantly constituted by Ideological State Apparatuses (ISAs) such as the family, educational…show more content…
Cultural theorists such as Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, argue that mass media interpellate passive subjects who are considered to “fall victim to what is offered them” (1979:8). Like Althusser, they also argue that the proletariat submit to ideologies that interpellate them as passive, and thus comply with their own domination. Similarly, David Gauntlett describes how “interpellation occurs when a person connects with a media text: when we enjoy a magazine or TV show, for example, this uncritical consumption means that the text has interpellated us into a certain set of assumptions, and caused us to tacitly accept a particular approach to the world.” (Gauntlett, 2002:27). Here, Gauntlett seems to echo Adorno and Horkheimer’s argument that media consumers unquestioningly accept a medium’s subject positioning of them as passive viewers. My problem with all these discussions is not one of disagreement, but rather one of inquisition: Is not there more agency on the part of the viewer when the relationship of medium and viewer is concerned? As interpellation has been appropriated by different theorists upon their needs, is this a reinforcement of Althusser’s argument or a movement away from the central discourse? Are there any contradictions or tensions within the forces that drive the interpellation process? If
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