Interpellation, Populism, and Perversion: Althusser, Laclau and Lacan

Filozofski Vestnik 25 (2) (2004)

By conceiving interpellation as a general mechanism for the social constitution of human subjects, authors such as Judith Butler, Ernesto Laclau and Slavoj Žižek have emancipated interpellation from its conservative roots as an ideological dispositif. I examine this conceptual shift through the work of Ernesto Laclau, who, using interpellation as a model for the Gramscian process of articulation, shifts it from the conservative to the radical side of the political ledger. But, we will see, Laclau’s theory runs into various difficulties. I get around these by suggesting a generalization of the concept of interpellation that realizes Althusser’s seminal project of combining his own anti-humanist reading of Marx with Lacan’s “return to Freud.”
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