'proper names', 'shifting' effects, syntactic constructions, etc. -- such that he results as 'cause of himself, in Spinoza's sense of the phrase. And it is precisely the existence of this contradiction (the production as a result of a 'cause of itself, and its motor role for the process of the signifier in interpellation-identification, which justifies me in saying that it is indeed a matter of a process, in so far as the 'objects' which appear in it duplicate and divide to act on themselves as other than themselves. 18

One of the consequences, I believe, of the necessary obliteration within the subject as 'cause of himself of the fact that he is the result of a process, is a series of what one might call metaphysical phantasies, all of which touch on the question of causality: for example, the phantasy of the two hands each holding a pencil and each drawing the other on the same sheet of paper, and also that of the perpetual leap in which one lea up again with a great kick before having touched the ground; one could extend the list at length. I shall leave it at that, with the proposal to call this phantasy effect -- by which the individual is interpellated as subject -- the 'Münchhausen effect', in memory of the immortal baron who lifted himself into the air by pulling on his own hair.

If it is true that ideology 'recruits' subjects from amongst individuals (in the way soldiers are recruited from amongst civilians) and that it recruits them all, we need to know how 'volunteers' are designated in this recruitment, i.e. in what concerns us, how all individuals accept as evident the meaning of what they hear and say, read and write (of what they intend to say and of what it is intended to be said to them) as 'speaking subjects': really to understand this is the only way to avoid repeating, in the form of a theoretical analysis, the 'Münchhausen effect', by positing the subject as the origin of the subject, i.e. in what concerns us, by positing the subject of discourse as the origin of the subject of discourse.

On this point, see the analysis of reformism in Althusser, 'Reply to John Lewis' ( 1972), in Essays in Self Criticism, trans. Grahame Lock, London 1976, pp. 49 ff.
Althusser, "'Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses'"; see this volume, Chapter 5, pp. 100-140.
'The unity of the different Ideological State Apparatuses is secured, usually in contradictory forms, by the ruling ideology . . . of the ruling class'. Ibid., p. 114.
By a transformation of the subordinations in the class struggle: for example by a transformation of the relationship between the school and politics, which in the capitalist mode of production is a relationship of disjunction (denegation or simulation) based on the Inatural 'place of the school between the family and economic production.
Étienne Baliba'r reminds us that it is a matter of replacing the bourgeois state apparatus both with another state apparatus and with something other than a state


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Mapping Ideology


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