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In chapter 1, I look at Louis Althusser’s theory of interpellation, focusing on the ways that he allows for its failure. For example, he says “nine times out of ten” that interpellation targets the person it was “really” meant for. My question here is what about the one in ten cases when the wrong person is hailed? I argue that focusing on this one time out of ten actually tells us something about the nine times out of ten as well; these are moments when the failure that is inherent in interpellation is too great to ignore (in the other cases, we can ignore it via a process that Althusser calls misrecognition but these moments too are ultimately instances of misinterpellation). In thinking about Althusser’s narrative of interpellation, I look at some of his critics, ranging from Mladen Dolar to Jodi Dean, as well as some of his more sympathetic readers such as Judith Butler and Lauren Berlant. In the case of the latter critics, who try to work with the framework Althusser offers but resist the way he seems to make interpellation all powerful and inevitable, I look at ways to expand the possibilities for misinterpellation and think about forms of address that are not projections and appropriations but serve as entirely different modes of recognition (Berlant’s “wait up!” is, I suggest, an alternative form of calling to Althusser’s “hey, you there!”)

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