interpellation

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interpellation

the process by which individuals become social subjects. According to ALTHUSSER (1971), people are actually the ‘bearers of structures’ rather than ‘autonomous subjects’. Yet, if capitalist relations of production are to be reproduced, each person must be constituted as an independent individual. This is the function of IDEOLOGY. Individuals are constituted or interpellated as subjects by ‘hailing’ or addressing them as, for example, ‘the people’.

In this way, the capitalist state is able to address individuals in terms of a democratic discourse as autonomous subjects, while recruiting them into a political process whose real function is the preservation, co-ordination and reproduction of the conditions for successful capital accumulation.