e-Duke Books

The Misinterpellated Subject

By James R. Martel

Although Haitian revolutionaries were not the intended audience for the Declaration of the Rights of Man, they heeded its call, demanding rights that were not meant for them. This failure of the French state to address only its desired subjects is an example of the phenomenon James R. Martel labels "misinterpellation." Complicating Althusser's famous theory, Martel explores the ways that such failures hold the potential for radical and anarchist action. In addition to the Haitian Revolution, Martel shows how the revolutionary responses by activists and anticolonial leaders to Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points speech and the Arab Spring sprang from misinterpellation. He also takes up misinterpellated subjects in philosophy, film, literature, and nonfiction, analyzing works by Nietzsche, Kafka, Woolf, Fanon, Ellison, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and others to demonstrate how characters who exist on the margins offer a generally unrecognized anarchist form of power and resistance. Timely and broad in scope, The Misinterpellated Subject reveals how calls by authority are inherently vulnerable to radical possibilities, thereby suggesting that all people at all times are filled with revolutionary potential.

Bibliographic Information

Title: 
The Misinterpellated Subject
By: 
  • James R. Martel
Published: 
2017-02-03
Copyright year: 
  • 2017
ISBN electronic: 
978-0-8223-7343-8
ISBN cloth: 
978-0-8223-6284-5
ISBN paper: 
978-0-8223-6296-8

Author Bio

  • James R. Martel is Professor of Political Science at San Francisco State University and the author of several books, most recently, The One and Only Law: Walter Benjamin and the Second Commandment.