Nicknames, Interpellation, and Dubya's Theory of the State
Copyright (c) 2008 Maney Publishing
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
George W. Bush freely assigns nicknames to political aides, cabinet secretaries, legislators, reporters, and others who cross his presidential path. Nicknaming seems an innocuous, playful social behavior, but it is a more complex onomastic maneuvre than it seems, and more significant: it is a species of Althusserian interpellation, a means of 'hailing' actors within the state and converting them into subjects of state ideology, which, on one construction (the one operating here), collapses state authority and the executive power of the American presidency. Nicknaming, then, is evidence of a theory of state and an instrument of its institution.
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