How Higher Education Interpellates Students for Industry Funding

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

David Gabbard


As someone who began college believing it was the only way to achieve the myth of the “American Dream,” I was not interested in knowledge, but the credentialing necessary to achieve capitalist success. More than a decade after I became disillusioned with higher education, I returned to college to pursue meaningful learning to help me make positive contributions to the common good. In Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses, Louis Althusser provides a theoretical framework that has helped me recognize the alienated condition of my own prior approach to learning in the attitudes, values, and behaviors of the younger students around me. Althusser leads me to ask how are students being interpellated? Ideological State Apparatuses (ISAs) posits that the school is the dominant ISA, hegemonically parallel to the class controlling the State, in order to reproduce the conditions and relations of production. Four fundamental characteristics of those conditions and relations are domination, subordination, exploitation, and alienation. This is done by interpellating individuals into subjects, moving them into an alienating role of learning. This study seeks to analyze how recent neoliberal reforms have fostered an alienating model of learning through the interpellation of students from individuals into subjects using Althusser’s framework.

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