Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 1-1-2017


One-year Embargo

Submission Type


Degree Name



Communication and Rhetorical Studies


McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Craig T. Maier

Committee Member

Pat Arneson

Committee Member

Erik Garrett


Althusser, Branding, Ideology, Communication, Interpellation


A surge in the role of branding within marketing practices has influenced an

industry transformation. A review of recent literature suggests that brand and the branding process have become integral in sustaining and amplifying organizations. This has been particularly influenced by Integrated Marketing Communication’s (IMC) espousal of being a consumer-driven process. As such, this project seeks to explore the current state of branding practices through the vision of French Marxist philosopher, Louis Althusser. Althusser’s philosophy inspects the human capacity to exercise autonomous decision-making and highlights the influence of social structures upon individuals. Through the Althusserian constructs of ideology and interpellation, as well as Althusser’s stance as an anti-humanist, the question guiding this process is how can Althusser’s agenda of ideological interpellation as a philosophy of communication help us to reinterpret branding as a societal process that systematically structures the lifeworld? While much of Althusser’s work has been dismissed and overlooked, key metaphors remain relevant and expository of current marketing shortcomings. Within this project, Althusser will be used to make the claim that there are gaps that exist within marketing discourse that must be addressed in order to improve those conditions affecting the relationship between the consumer and the brand.