Recursive Interpellation: Digitally Recoding Althusser

By M.R. Curwen Reed.

Published by The Technology Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

From Facebook to Pandora, the various opportunities available online for entertainment, self-exploration and socialization have caught the attention of hundreds of millions of Internet users. While users value these opportunities for entertainment as well as an increased ability to connect with friends, these websites, in turn, are able to tap into the value of audience as commodity. While interaction is generally open and free, users are persuaded to internalize notions of commodity fetishism and commodity consumption. Further, the diversification of identity-forming opportunities available to users on these sites, although beneficial to the user, ultimately serve to benefit the sites and their corporate advertisers. It is the dialogical relationship between the user and platform in particular, that effectively veils the highly structured nature of these platforms.

As a result of corporate actions on these sites, ideological interpellation, the process entailing the creation of, and recognition within, subjectivities, becomes more prevalent as an existent function of new technologies. This paper will serve as an introduction to the concept of recursive interpellation and demonstrate how individuals come to configure subjectivities in the digital era. This will be accomplished by outlining the business strategies of online recommenders as they highlight this type of interpellation.

Keywords: Social Networking Sites, Online Recommenders, Subjects and Subjectivities, Interpellation

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp.135-148. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.165MB).

M.R. Curwen Reed

Graduate Student, Sociology, University of Victoria, Victoria, B.C., Canada

M.R.Curwen Reed is currently enrolled at the University of Victoria in the Sociology department, presently conducting thesis work. He was a presenter in the Issues in the Sociology of Media and Culture stream of the Canadian Sociological Association’s 2007 and 2008 Congresses with work on the iPod generation. His research interests are focused on recommenders, the social web and new media.


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