Recognition arises in rituals such as "hailing" - calling someone's name : ideology does this too, it "hails" us (interpellation), although we are usually unaware of this.
With this knowledge and understanding fresh in your mind, view ONE of the films listed below, carefully noticing how the film represents specific Ideological State Apparatuses and component institutions of the RSA. Which ISA (and if applicable, RSA) institutions are featured and explored in depth? Does the film challenge the behaviour of each ISA or RSA that is prominent in the film or does it simply reproduce their normative roles?
Demonstrate an understanding of Althusser’s views of the nature and roles of the RSA and ISAs by interpreting and defining his key concepts and applying them in an analysis of how your film either challenges or reinforces the roles of the key ISAs and RSA representatives in your selected film. The purpose of the essay is to show an understanding of Althusser’s theory AS DISCUSSED BY HIM IN HIS ESSAY/ARTICLE and that you can interpret a film’s depiction of ISAs and RSAs, reflecting on whether and how the film is supporting the roles of these institutions or challenging them and suggesting the need for change. And what change the film suggests and in what way it suggests that need.
In the last appended section, Althusser admits that his analysis is too "abstract", that the function of completing reproduction depends on a successful class struggle by the r.c.
Begin your essay with a clear thesis statement offering your view of which ISAs and RSAs are in the film you are exploring and how the film’s representation of these institutions (using character, plot, dialogue, images, sound) reveals the strengths and weaknesses of these institutions in the society depicted in your film. The rest of the essay will offer a clear discussion of of Althusser’s views and detailed examples of how the film supports or challenges the role of ISAs and any RSA institutions in society.
A.s represent only the necessary forms of class struggle developed elsewhere [This restoration of class struggle might save Althuser from some of his critics who have accused him of "functionalism" etc -but he then leaves himself open to the charge of Hirst et al.
Thompson's celebrated (1978) critique of Althusser pleads for an analysis of how ideologies actually get produced, with all their struggle, hesitation and ambiguity, before becoming safely installed in ISAs.
They might have the formal function of interpellation, but that did not entitle us to assume that this is what they actually did, or that they did this without contradiction.
Benton (1984) offers a clear account of the development of Althusserian marxism. It is a long and interesting story, but we can summarise the main developments in terms of problems with the interpellation model:
Every party by its nature tends to gain the official state legislature position, and essentially every party differs from other ones in its ideological core.
In the second half of the essay, Althusser argues there are places that can be found in the ISA that allow expression of the exploited class, but this expression is an illusion as they can only express themselves in terms of being subjects....
Hall et al (1978) try to show that the mass media are genuinely independent and critical to some extent, yet those very professional values can still preserve overall ideological frameworks nonetheless ( see )(and for a more general commentary see Harris (1992)).
Here, Althusser is attempting to clarify the distinction between ideology and science, part of a major effort which led him into famous pieces like the one on 'the Generalities'.
Has Althusser simply forgotten about it in this essay, or has he offered any reasons for thinking activism is likely to be limited as a political strategy?
In their famous analysis of the Bond movie (see file) , Bennett and Woollacott argue that there is no point even in talking of a singular (ideological) Bond film, so varied are the readings of the individual 'formations' (not individuals) likely to be -- and the ideological codes, which had been so carefully analysed in the earlier work only existed, in effect, if they were read.
Despite these problems, 'interpellation' or 'positioning' approaches remain in much critical work in Cultural Studies, often accompanied with warnings about their assumptions.
Althusser doesn't think much of this concept, and there is a hint of his criticism in the ISAs essay - dig it out from Section 3 and think about it.