Time and the Fragmented Subject in Minority Report

Martin Hall

[1] In this paper I intend to outline certain elements of Lacanian psychoanalytical theory, specifically the mirror stage (1989) and the future anterior register that the constitution of the subject takes place within. I will then apply this to an analysis of some themes in Minority Report (Steven Spielberg, 2002, US), specifically the trajectory of Chief John Anderton (Tom Cruise) as subject and, to a lesser extent, those of Agatha (Samantha Morton) and Lamar Burgess (Max Von Sydow). I will commentate on Lacan's use of the future anterior through the work of Samuel Weber, whose exegesis of this difficult subject is illuminating. I will also briefly allude to the work of Jacques Derrida, Louis Althusser and G.W.F Hegel. My approach here is to utilise a relevant methodology, namely a Lacanian one, in order to explicate an element of the text. I am interested in a specific section of Lacan's work and how it might usefully be applied to a contemporary text; therefore the work will not involve any particular critique of the approach undertaken, or any reference to other approaches. To provide a little context I will now give a brief account of the use of psychoanalytic theory within Film Studies.

[2] After the events of 1968 (the student riots in Paris and other cities), a number of differing methodologies began to be used in conjunction in the study of film, primarily Althusserian Marxism, Saussure's work on the structure of language, Lacan's reworking of Freud and Roland Barthes' work in the field of semiotics. This methodological shift was predicated upon the optimism generated by this particular set of events and a belief that a critique of dominant modes of production and representation was possible. The amalgamation of these theorists' approaches created a paradigm that was particularly applicable to the analysis of identificatory structures in film, particularly in the field of spectatorship, but also within the texts themselves. The mixture of a study of sign systems, ideology and the metaphor of the screen as Lacanian mirror lent itself readily to the study of film. The most well known exponents of this approach are Laura Mulvey, specifically her essay 'Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema' (1975) and Christian Metz in the first full-length book on the subject, Psychoanalysis and Cinema: The Imaginary Signifier (published in France in 1975; translated into English in 1982). Specifically, Metz's appropriation of Lacan's mirror allowed for a complex discussion of the pleasure available to the spectator through her positioning within the womb-like, Imaginary plenitude of the darkened auditorium. This approach, often referred to as Screen Theory [1] (after the British Journal of that name that Mulvey and other theorists such as Stephen Heath were associated with), and disparagingly given the acronym of SLAB [2] theory by its later detractors, dominated the academic study of film throughout the 1970s and into the early 1980s. For a variety of reasons not relevant to this discussion, the approach became somewhat unfashionable in the 1980s: these reasons are too diverse and complex to explore here. I merely wish to provide a brief context, particularly for those who are not film scholars, of the use of the approach I am taking. However, it is necessary to indicate one criticism of psychoanalytic theory and disassociate my approach from it. The spectator identified by Mulvey and Metz was seen as a passive one, interpellated into a fixed subject position by the apparatus and editing practices of the dominant ideology. Though a brief discussion of Anderton as interpellated subject is undertaken, my approach suggests a more active spectator, based upon a more hegemonic interaction between spectator and text. In the main, active and passive binaries of spectatorship are not under discussion here: my interest in the film is based upon the play of subject positions that the narrative indulges in and the concurrent play of spectatorial positions this also allows for: the spectator's uncertainty parallels that of the subject, John Anderton.

[3] I now wish to outline Lacan's work on the future anterior and explicate and summarise his position. Lacan, in his most concise section on the future anterior, suggests that

What is realised in my history is not the past definite of what was, since it is no more, or even the present perfect of what has been in what I am, but the future anterior of what I shall have been for what I am in the process of becoming (1981: 63).

This register, also known as the future perfect, is used by Lacan to describe the historicity of the subject, specifically in terms of the part played by the unconscious in its constitution (Weber, 1991: 7). The lack of closure in this tense invoked by Lacan to describe memory is a major part of the misrecognition that lies at the heart of the mirror stage. The tense is a constant reminder that the subject can never become self-identical, due to the fragmented body that is glimpsed in the mirror. A brief explanation of the mirror stage would be of some use at this juncture.

[4] The mirror stage is a stage in a child's development that takes place between the ages of six and eighteen months old and is when the subject begins to identify itself through identification with an image, an image that seems more powerful than the child actually is. The subject sees itself in 'un relief de stature [contrasting size]' (Lacan, 1989: 3), compared to the nature of the child's own relative incapacity at this stage. The subject, through being created as 'I' through the assumption of an image seen in the mirror, is taken forever in what Lacan refers to as 'a fictional direction' (1989: 3). This 'fictional direction', allied to the anterior register of the construction of the subject previously mentioned, is at the heart of my reading of the narrative structure of Minority Report. The subject becomes aware of herself as a form of gestalt and experiences joy at the mastery of this image, despite its aforementioned fictionality, falling in love with her own image and taking the whole image of herself as love-object. Also, the dialectical nature of the phase, with meaning being created from the clash between the image and the body, creates a parallel with editing techniques used in film. Lacan also discusses the processes by which the symbolic nature of the mirror imposes language on the body: the mirror creates a 'symbolic matrix' (Lacan, 1989: 2) based upon the subject's desire to have spoken by another the ideal she or he that each person wishes to be. The ideal 'is an unconscious formation already inscribed, not in the other person, but in the Otherness of what one does not know about oneself' (Ragland, 1995: 36). The mirrors present in the film function as sites of meaning and of idealisation, as is explicated below. Allied to this, 'Otherness', and its very radical nature as the space of the production of meaning in the unconscious, what Lacan refers to as the 'discourse of the unconscious' (1988: 109), will also be referred to in the text. To return specifically to the future anterior, Derrida suggests that '[t]o deal with this enigma of the future anterior and the conditional…is to deal with the problem of archivization, of what remains or does not remain' (1998: 39-40). This concept of archivization [3] is relevant to the system of Pre-Crime in the film and to the positioning of John Anderton as subject that I will outline later.

[5] To briefly summarise the plot, the film takes place in the year 2054. The murder rate in Washington D.C. has been reduced to zero due to the Department of Pre-Crime. Officers work through orders gleaned from three 'pre-cogs', telepathic people kept in a state akin to suspended animation, who are capable of reading the future. The information they see is presented to the officers on a series of screens, mirroring the thoughts of the pre-cogs. Therefore, murders are prevented before they happen and subjects are apprehended. Chief John Anderton, the head officer within this organisation, is accused of the future murder of Leo Crow (Mike Binder), a man he has never met and whom he has no desire to kill. Anderton finds out that occasionally one of the pre-cogs will produce an alternate version of the future, called a minority report. These are immediately destroyed, in order to maintain the efficacy of the system and only exist thereafter within the mind of the pre-cog. His only hope is to find the minority report, if one exists. To give a little more background, Anderton is a man whose life had unravelled six years previously, when his son disappeared at a public swimming pool. His son is not found and it is assumed that he was murdered. This incident precipitates two trajectories in Anderton's life: his wife, Lara (Kathryn Morris), leaving him and his complete belief in the moral correctness of the Department of Pre-Crime. Later in the text, Anderton and Agatha will team up together, linking their trajectories within the narrative.

[6] This brief synopsis is hopefully suggestive of the usefulness of the Lacanian paradigm to the analysis of this particular text. Lacan's concept of the function of the image as something that depicts not through reproduction but through a process of dismantling (Lacan, 1989) is another narrative trope that can be glimpsed throughout the text in a fairly literal fashion and which I will briefly mention here. The officers of the Department of Pre-Crime are given fragmented images that are then dismantled further on screen and then restructured into a coherent narrative in order to find the location of the murder. The very nature of their work is predicated by enquiries into the unconscious, though not into their own. Anderton's involvement with this process will be explored later in the paper. This process is very similar to the way the spectator reconstructs images into a narrative within her own head.

[7] To return to the 'fictional direction' previously alluded to, Anderton's future has quite literally taken on this trajectory, through the possible misrecognition of what he is in the process of becoming; a murderer or a man who has been set up, or simply the victim of a future that has been misread. He is a victim of what Derrida refers to as the 'idiomatic conjunction of negation, disavowal, the conditional, and the future anterior' (1998: 39). Anderton's future pasts are informing his possible futures in ways that he himself is not aware of until very late in the text. As suggested in the introduction, another character within the text whose trajectory is placed within an anterior register is Agatha, the female pre-cog (the other two are male twins) and the most powerful of the three. She grabs Anderton, whilst he is showing The Temple (the place where the pre-cogs are kept) to FBI agent Danny Witwer (Colin Farrell) and shows him a vision of a woman, Ann Lively (Jessica Harper), being drowned. Later in the text it will become clear that this woman is Agatha's mother. Her murder, which was thought to be solved, can be seen, both from the point of view of the authorities and Agatha herself, as an example of what Samuel Weber describes as 'a “time” that can never be entirely remembered, since it will never have fully taken place' (1991: 9). Agatha's version of this event is assumed to be what is known as an 'echo' within the world depicted on screen, and, as such, has been destroyed, only existing within the mind of the pre-cog. An 'echo' is when a pre-cog has a vision of a murder after the time it has happened (or been prevented, of course). What is not known to the authorities is that Agatha is seeing a different version of 'what shall have been', not an echo. Lamar Burgess, the originator of pre-crime, murdered her mother, who is assumed to be missing by the authorities, approximately a minute after the man who the pre-cogs saw committing the murder is apprehended. This means that Burgess set up the man who was arrested and committed the murder in exactly the same way as the pre-cogs saw the first man doing it. What Agatha is becoming has been effectively suspended by this event. I shall return to this murder later in the essay.

[8] The section of the text when Anderton realises he is being accused of murder is salutary to this discussion of the future anterior. The spectator sees a murder being represented on the screens, with Anderton present, along with two judges, also on screens. As has been suggested, these screens function as sites of meaning, both for the characters and the spectator. The mise-en-scène resembles a control room of a large organisation or vehicle, such as a space ship. This cues the spectator towards certain interpretations in terms of the authority of the decisions being made within the space. Anderton is confident in his role as arbiter of possible futures and awaits his next case with anticipation. Anderton's realisation that he is watching a version of himself is represented to the spectator: the cutting becomes faster as he tries to make sense of what he is seeing and his attempts to control the images and, by extension, his own future, are increasingly desperate and frenzied. There is an attempt here to visually represent Anderton's fragmentation: the speeded up images of him frantically trying to make sense of what he is seeing; the increasing clarity of the images represented. For Lacan, the concept of the unconscious is interpreted not just as the presentation of a representation, but as 'the vehicle for a search' (Weber, 1991: 10). In this scene we see Anderton dismantling and restructuring images, searching for whatever possible versions of this representation are available to him, other than the one that represents him as a murderer. In the Lacanian sense, he is not merely trying to describe his trajectory, he is staging its movement: he believes that the play of images represented will resolve themselves into the absolute knowledge that the future anterior tense this fragmentation has placed him within does not allow for. Another section from Lacan can further illuminate this section of the text. This is an explanation of certain of Lacan's thoughts regarding secondary identifications, relevant to the mirror stage and both the ideal ego present in the mirror and the ego ideal represented by figures of identification. Secondary identifications represent the return of primary ones, essentially in individuals' belief that they can be made whole through others. Of course, there is an inherent paradox here: there are two people, both created as subjects through the fictional direction created in the mirror, who both seem to each other to be adequate to the task. However, their entry into language is predicated upon the Other, through the lost objet petit à [4] and therefore they can never be truly fulfilled by another. The concept of the 'alibi' mentioned below relates to the fictional nature of the ego ideal and the invisibility hinted at relates to the lack of any fixed position possible for the subject, due to the fictionality of the mirror and the future anterior register already discussed.

The obsessional subject drags into the cage of his narcissism the objects in which his question reverberates back and forth in the multiplied alibi of mortal figures and, subduing their heady acrobatics, addresses its ambiguous homage towards the box in which he himself has the seat, that of the master who cannot be seen or see himself (Lacan, 1981: 67-68).

Anderton is quite literally placed in a narcissistic position as a version of himself is being reflected back to him. On what we might call a 'micro' level, the question is whether or not he is a murderer and 'who am I?' on a 'macro' level. It is an 'ambiguous homage' because he does not want the question to be asked, but it is still an homage due to his centrality within the question. He is attempting to control and indeed subdue the figures staged on his narcissistic screen through 'dragging them into the cage of his narcissism' and then moving them away again, and he obviously cannot be seen by the objects that function as a locus for the question (the other locus being Anderton himself), other than through his confused position as subject/object on the screen. He cannot see himself because his illusory position as fixed subject doesn't allow him to believe that he is killing a man.

[9] As has been suggested, Anderton is a man who exhibits moral certitude about his life, due to the murder of his son and his belief in the system. The major problem facing Anderton in terms of this position, and the issues of memory and time already alluded to, can be subjected to further analysis through a section from the mirror stage:

this form [the Ideal I -- the idealised other seen in the mirror] situates the agency of the ego, before its social formation, in a fictional direction, which will always remain irreducible for the individual alone, or rather, which will only rejoin the coming-into-being (le devenir) of the subject asymptotically, whatever the success of the dialectical syntheses by which he must resolve as I his discordance with his own reality (1989: 2-3).

Anderton is incapable of achieving a 'dialectical synthesis' and resolving this 'discordance with his own reality' due to his conviction that the version of the future given to him by the system he has previously believed in utterly cannot be correct. Also, his belief in the developmental, in a diachronic perspective, that he has reached a certain point in life due to a linear trajectory, has been ruptured by his move into an uncertain, synchronic, anterior mode of time. He has previously existed in what we might refer to as a Hegelian present perfect, 'a discourse that presents itself as a self-realization of spirit' (Weber, 1991: 7). There is a notion within this discourse of the perfection of the spirit, allowing for an absolute knowledge that prefigures Anderton's moral certainty. This has been disrupted violently by the knowledge that he may be about to commit a murder, something that he cannot comprehend. This is due to the confusion caused by the anterior register and its concomitant notion of misrecognition present in this version of the future offered to him by the pre-cogs, who function as symbolic mirrors. Anderton's existence within the present perfect -- 'what has been in what I am' -- has given him his strength. The murder of his son and all the people he has arrested has created him as a fixed subject, a position now looking increasingly tenuous. Anderton realises that if he is being accused of something that he doesn't possibly think he can do, then it is likely that errors have occurred in the past.

[10] This uncertainty and discordance is represented in a scene that takes place immediately after the one previously discussed. Anderton, having been given two minutes to escape by a sympathetic colleague before he raises the alarm, is seen walking through a corridor in a shopping mall. On both sides he is besieged by advertising that is addressing him by name, encouraging him to buy certain products and, by extension, affirm his place in society. In this scene Anderton looks worried about the constant use of his name for two reasons: firstly, this naming is quite literally putting him in danger of arrest; secondly, his idea of whom John Anderton is has been ruptured. To briefly move into a Marxist paradigm, the voices are calling him into being, or interpellating [5] him, as an individual subject in society, in the Althusserian sense. The foundations of this society, in terms of its structures of law and order, are no longer secure for Anderton. He is quite literally beginning to see through the false consciousness his (illusory) previous position as fixed subject had allowed him. To return to Lacan, another section from the mirror stage can illustrate this scene further:

he experiences …the relation between the movements assumed in the image and the reflected environment, and between this virtual complex and the reality it reduplicates (1989: 2).

[11] His idealised other (in this case, his previous illusory position as fixed subject), as present in the virtual complex represented by the adverts and voices calling to him, is further dislocated by the fragmented version of Anderton walking through the shopping mall, unsure of who he is becoming. Due to his lack of knowledge about who he is becoming, his history is in a constant process of being reconstructed, as this section from Weber illustrates:

every attempt by the subject of the unconscious to grasp its history inevitably divides that history into a past that, far from having taken place once and for all, is always yet to come (1991: 9).

Anderton's possible futures will force him to reconstruct his past (the men he has imprisoned, his memory of his son's disappearance) within this uncertain, anterior register.

[12] Later in the film, Anderton is arrested for the murder of Leo Crow and sentenced to life imprisonment. However, Crow actually has committed suicide, pulling the gun towards himself and releasing the trigger, giving the impression that Anderton is the killer. Lamar Burgess has told Crow, a delinquent, that his family will be looked after if he agrees to help set up Anderton. Crow has been given a picture of Anderton's son, which has been placed upon his bed, along with a number of other pictures of children. Anderton finds this and assumes that Crow is the murderer of his son: however, he decides to arrest Crow, rather than kill him. Crow then tells Anderton the truth and pleads with him to shoot him. Anderton realises that Burgess has set the whole thing up, in order to prove the continuing usefulness of the system and to make sure that Agatha is kept in her state of suspended animation, as it is Burgess who killed Ann Lively, which she knows. Ann Lively, a drug addict, came back for Agatha after she had been used in the setting up of Pre-Crime. Burgess therefore had to commit a murder in order to create a world without murder, in the manner already alluded to earlier in this paper. Lara Anderton realises that John Anderton is innocent (the two met again just prior to Anderton's arrest) and engenders his escape. This brings us to the climactic scene of the film and the last section of the text that I wish to scrutinise in detail.

[13] After a call from Lara Anderton, the technicians at the Department of Pre-Crime agree to broadcast the images of Ann Lively onto a screen at a ceremony where Burgess is being given an award. At this moment Anderton is put through to Burgess by phone and proceeds to tell him that he knows everything. The other guests see the images of the murder and the pre-cogs predict that Burgess will murder Anderton. Burgess and Anderton come face to face, presenting Burgess with two choices. If he wishes the system of Pre-Crime to continue, he must kill Anderton and condemn himself to life imprisonment; alternatively, he can choose not to shoot him, but Pre-Crime will then be shut down, as the pre-cogs will have been proved to be wrong. Burgess has now been placed into an uncertain anterior mode of time, whereas Anderton has moved out of this register and, to some extent, recreated himself as the subject he was previously through the knowledge that he is not a killer. However, he is not the fixed subject he was at the beginning of the film as he is no longer a believer in Pre-Crime. Another section from Lacan can shed some light on this scene:

The subject…always has an anticipatory relationship to his own realization which in turn throws him back onto the level of a profound insufficiency and betokens a rift in him, a primal sundering, a thrownness (Lacan, cited in Dews, 1987: 66).

[14] Burgess quite literally anticipates the situation that Anderton's knowledge places him in: it is readable in his face, in the profound shock caused by hearing Anderton's voice. The rift that is caused is threefold: there is his desire to keep the system working, his instinct for his own survival and lastly, his ambivalent feelings towards Anderton, who functions as a surrogate son for him. Burgess chooses suicide, which, in the Lacanian sense, functions as an example of how 'the subject brings his solitude to realization, be it in the vital ambiguity of immediate desire or in the full assumption of his being-for-death' (Lacan, 1981: 85). Burgess has been left truly alone by events. His wife feinted when she saw the images of the murder and Anderton has been the cause of this rupture. His desire has effectively been inextricably linked to his death by the playing out of the truth that both he and the system have tried to hide. Dews suggests that, for Lacan, the interpretation of the past, and of course the future, in the Lacanian anterior register, 'must be put to the test in the intersubjective medium of dialogue' (1987: 67). Anderton attempts to offer Burgess this route to knowledge through language but is turned down. Burgess still has a chance to interpret his future and past in a different manner, due to the fluctuating nature of subject positioning that has been discussed.

[15] To conclude, Minority Report is a film that sets up discourses around the dichotomy of fixed or fragmented subjects. These discourses are eventually resolved within the text as Anderton doesn't kill anyone. However, the system of pre-crime detection is seen to be fallible, for the reasons already stated. The entire text plays with notions of time, memory and histories, producing uncertain subjects within the text and, concurrently, fluctuating spectatorial positions. History itself is made strange through the use of this anterior register: it ruptures the progression of linear time and calls into question the whole concept of history (Derrida, 1998: 40). Samuel Weber states that the future anterior calls 'into question the very foundations of subjective identity conceived in terms of an interiorizing memory' (1991: 9), creating an 'anticipated belatedness [of a] history always yet to come' (9). This obviously works in conjunction with the mirror stage as the fictive foundation of the subject that leads to its splitting. The anterior register much of Minority Report takes place in raises questions about the nature of the subject as positioned within the text; also, the film is one of a number of contemporary Hollywood texts that is concerned with time and remembering. Both Twelve Monkeys (Terry Gilliam, 1995, US) and Memento (Christopher Nolan, 2000, US) are concerned with how the subject is constituted through the conjunction of interior memory and disrupted temporal causality. Memento, in particular, can usefully be explored through Freud's concept of Nachträglichkeit, or deferred action, which is related to the future anterior. This term, translated as 'afterwardness' [6] (Sutton, 1999: 80), has been used in contemporary film theory to discuss spectatorship and the processes of remembering undertaken after leaving the auditorium. Memento creates spaces for the spectator entirely predicated upon conditional pasts and futures and presents no fixed resolution. All three films suggest a continuing agency for psychoanalytic criticism: they are all involved in discussions of temporality and its relationship to the unstable subject and can usefully be illuminated by the theoretical model outlined in this paper.


Louis Althusser, 'Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses', in Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan (eds.), Literary Theory: An Anthology (Oxford: Blackwell, 1998) pp. 294-304

David Bordwell, Narration in the Fiction Film (Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 1993)

Jacques Derrida, Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression, trans. Eric Prenowitz (London & Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1996)

Jacques Derrida, Resistances of Psychoanalysis, trans. Peggy Kamuf et al (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1998)

Peter Dews, Logics of Disintegration: Post-structuralist Thought and the Claims of Critical Theory (London: Verso, 1987)

Mark Jancovich, 'Screen Theory', in Joanne Hollows & Mark Jancovich (eds.), Approaches to popular film (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1995), pp.123-150

Jacques Lacan, The Language of the Self: The Function of Language in Psychoanalysis, trans. Anthony Wilden (Baltimore, Maryland: John Hopkins University Press, 1981)

Jacques Lacan, The Seminar of Jacques Lacan: Book II The Ego in Freud's Theory and in the Technique of Psychoanalysis 1954 – 1955, trans. Sylvana Tonaselli (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988)

Jacques Lacan, 'The Mirror Stage as Formative of the Function of the I as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience', in Écrits: a selection, trans. Alan Sheridan (London: Routledge, 1989), pp.1-8

Jacques Lacan, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psycho-analysis, trans. Alan Sheridan (London: Vintage, 1998)

Christian Metz, Psychoanalysis and Cinema: The Imaginary Signifier, trans. Celia Britton et al (London: Macmillan, 1982)

Laura Mulvey, 'Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema', in Screen, vol 16, no 3 (1975), pp. 6-18

Ellie Ragland, Essays on the Pleasures of Death: From Freud to Lacan (New York & London: Routledge, 1995)

Paul Sutton, 'Cinema Spectatorship as Procrastinatory Practice', in Parallax, vol. 5, no. 1 (1999) pp. 80-82

Samuel Weber, Return to Freud: Jacques Lacan's Dislocation of Psychoanalysis, trans. Michael Levine (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991)


[1] For a full discussion of the topic, please see Mark Jancovich, 'Screen Theory', in Hollows & Jancovich (1995).

[2] This is an acronym standing for Saussure, Lacan, Althusser and Barthes. A notable opponent of Screen theory is David Bordwell, who is against symptomatic criticism, specifically psychoanalytic criticism which seeks to uncover repressed or unconscious meanings. For a salient example of Bordwell's approach, please see his section on Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954, US) in his book Narration in the Fiction Film (Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 1993) pp. 40-47. This section is of particular interest as he takes a cognitive approach to a film that has been much written about within the psychoanalytic paradigm.

[3] Derrida also discusses the notion of 'archive fever' (1996: 12), relating it to the future anterior, as well as to the death drive. Essentially, archivization is a description of the temporal processes involved in remembering; allied to this, it is about the relationship between truth and authority, or the Law, in the Lacanian sense. This is relevant to Anderton's search for answers to the temporal problems he is forced to confront.

[4] The objet a, or objet petit a can be seen as any object that seeks to fill the loss that exists in language and is associated with the death drive.

[5] I mentioned this term near the beginning of the paper in reference to spectatorship, though I am using it here more broadly, to refer to the processes involved in the subject's stitching into capitalism. According to Althusser, the main purpose of ideology is to interpellate 'concrete individuals as concrete subjects' (1998: 301). So pervasive is ideology in its constitution of subjects that it forms our very reality and thus appears to us as 'true' or 'obvious'. Through interpellation, individuals are turned into subjects (which are always ideological). Althusser's example is the hail from a police officer: "'Hey, you there!'". Assuming that the theoretical scene I have imagined takes place in the street, the hailed individual will turn round. By this mere one-hundred-and-eighty-degree physical conversion, he becomes a subject' (301). The very fact that people do not recognise this interaction as ideological is precisely the point and shows the power of ideology.

[6] Sutton cites Jean Laplanche as the translator of Nachträglichkeit as 'afterwardness'. For a brief discussion, see Sutton (1999).