interpellation. A term employed by the French Marxist philosopher, Louis Althusser (1918 90) to name the process by which a human subject is 'hailed', or addressed, and thus positioned in relation to ideology. In an illustration from Althusser, when a policeman calls out "'Hey, you there!" One individual (nine times out of ten it is the right one) turns round, believing/suspecting/knowing that it is for him.' In turning round, recognizing the call is for himself, the individual becomes in that moment at 'subject', positioned in relation to the general ideological code of law and criminality (or more accurately 're-positioned', since for Althusser, 'individuals' are always-already subjects.' The idea of interpellation was very influential, along with other aspects of Althusser's theory, in literary, film and cultural studies in the 1970s but has been criticized since for its abstractness, particularly as regards the agency which or who interpellated subjects. It was employed in this earlier period notably in discussions of the forms and ideological work of 'classic realism' in film and literature. These arguments suggested that the conventions of realism interpellate the reader into a position which reinforces the ideology of liberal humanism. This general indictment of realism has in turn been much debated. Meanwhile, if the term itself is less used, attention to the process of ideological positioning has been retained. Critics note that the reader might refuse the position into which they are interpellated by a realist text and points towards an 'interrogative' critical reading. Along these lines the concept comes close to the distinction developed elsewhere between preferred, negotiated and oppositional decodings of a media message.