Laclau or Ambien?

It’s somewhat late at night, not a sound to be heard in the neighborhood, can’t fall asleep.  I guess I could use some Ambien, but then I would have to take Ambien. The thought alone is abhorrent. Much better to read some theory, yes, theory is always good to lull one off to beddy-bye… So I pick up some Laclau again, and hope that will do the trick.

The endless critique of Poulantzas and Milibrand that constitutes Chapter 2 of Politics and Ideology almost put me to sleep two days ago. But I didn’t want to go to bed two days ago and unfortunately I’ve moved on at this late hour to Chapter 3. Which brings me to this nugget: “It is strange that Poulantzas, who operates within the general framework of the Althusserian problematic, has not retained Althusser’s most important and specific contribution to the study of ideologies: the conception that the basic function of all ideology is to interpellate/constitute individuals as subjects.” (101) He refers to Althusser’s central theory, of course, that ideology “functions” to transform individuals into subjects who, subjected to the rule/force of ideology of subjective freedom, believe themselves to autonomous individuals capable of subjective freedom.

One senses a certain circularity to the Lacanian-Althusserian-Laclauian line. But this does not trouble me mightily. Rather, I am led to wonder if an ideology could emerge that would interpellate/constitute individuals differently – not as subjects, but as the negation of a subject. That is, could an ideology arise through which only non-subjectivity were interpellated. And not the Lacanian “kernel” of non-subjectivity, the encounter with which only rebounds back to subject-formation as the shock of the Real. But a real non-subjectivity in concrete or habitual space, a no-subject. I believe this ideology would be called “global market.”

So great, no I’ll be up all night trying to figure this puzzle out, if indeed this puzzle is a real one and not a product of insomnia. Or a lack of Ambien. A lack of a prescription for Ambien which I would choose not to fill anyway even if I could find a doctor to prescribe it. And I should tell you, I lack any sense of irony as I write this.


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