Visual culture in the modern world has an immense capacity to influence children’s thinking (Duncum, 2001; Freedman, 2003; Kindler, 2003; Smith-Shank, 2002; Tavin, 2003; Wilson, 2003a). This is particularly true in terms of how they incorporate and integrate surrounding images and signs. Althussers formulation of interpellation has been essential to scholars of the post-structuralist era (Bateman, 2011), particularly for the investigation of image and meaning in visual culture studies. This investigative approach to children’s drawings in relation to art education illuminates the influence of children’s surroundings in modern life.
The concept of interpellation was adapted to such uses by theorists of politics and media in the 1970s (Sturken & Cartwright, 2009). Below, I examine the ideas of French Marxist Louis Althusser, employing his concepts of interpellation and ideology to analyze how the drawings of young people are shaped by the visual culture around them. Such an exercise will demonstrate how visual culture shapes all of us.
Children are products of their world, and the world in which they develop has a vested interest in ensuring that they conceive of their environment in certain ways. The power of the structures of visual culture needs to be clear and persistently justified by those in power. If the semiotics of visual culture functions as the elites desire them to function, children will see and render the world in ways others desire. However, one must bear in mind that a strictly structuralist view of Marxism, as well as a strictly structuralist reading of the theory of interpellation, fails to appreciate the role of human agency in shaping individual sensibilities. In short, while visual culture can be powerful, children’s drawings can rebel against received semiotics or the contrivances of the interpellative efforts of the state apparatus.
As such, I