Earth Day: Interpellation and the Educational ISA

As talked about a little bit in my previous blog post, the Earth Day Network (EDN) partners with about 22,000 organizations (*correction from the last post which said only 2,000). These range from large companies to small local NGO’s and organizations.  The EDN is working very hard to collaborate with local communities which help this environmental movement to spread and be sustained worldwide. Within the local integration of Earth Day, the major path of travel for the information is through the educational system. In fact, the educational system is how this movement started as Gaylord Nelson used “teach-in” days and the energy of university students to percolate his desire for increased awareness of environmental degradation. One of Louis Althussers major theories is that of the Ideological State Apparatus (ISA), where the state functions through ideology which he defines as “the imaginary relationship of individuals to their real conditions of existence.”[1] Althusser believes that the Church ISA, which had the majority hand in creating and spreading the dominant ideology, is being replaced by the educational ISA.[2] The Earth Day Network continues to use its influence in and through the educational system in the countries it is involved in to spread its message of environmentalism. Interpellation is another Althussarian theory which is the process and final product of a person recognizing the ideology and putting themselves into a certain place in society which creates their relationships to the world around them.[3] Through these community education initiatives, Earth Day interpellates each member of the global community into a role of responsibility for their environment.

Earth Day 2013, with the theme of “The Face of Climate Change” is a perfect example of the EDN allowing global citizens to interpellate themselves into a role of environmental responsibility. The website promoting the 2013 Earth Day displays the submitted pictures from all over the world spanning many nationalities and countries. These pictures also display the problems and fixes to climate change that have been identified. There are individuals and groups portrayed on this page. It promotes the idea that everyone is involved and affected by climate change and can be the solution to the problems.


[1] [1] Louis Althusser. Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays. “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses (Notes towards an Investigation).” Trans. Ben Brewster. New York: Monthly Review Press. P 162.

[2] Ibid.,157.

[3] Ibid., 170-77.

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