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Semiotics Glossary I

Interpellation ( Althusser )
[Chandler]    Interpellation is Althusser's term to describe a mechanism whereby the human subject is'constituted'(constructed) by pre-given structures (a structuralist stance). This concept is used by Marxist media theorists to explain the ideological function of mass media texts. According to this view, the subject (viewer, listener, reader) is constituted by the text, and the power of the mass media resides in their ability to'position'the subject in such a way that their representations are taken to be reflections of everyday reality. Such framings reflect a stance of structural or textual determinism which has been challenged by contemporary social semioticians who tend to emphasize the'polysemic'and'multiaccentual'nature of texts, together with the diversity of their uses.