Abstract

This article utilizes Althusser's theories on Ideological State Apparatuses [ISAs] and State Apparatuses [SAs] to examine Paretsky's novel Blacklist and identifies the author's social protest, tied specifically to post-9/11 federal-government incursions on civil liberties. Two plot lines, a contemporary, post-Patriot-Act murder and an historical, McCarthy-era crime, are linked by a shared ideological dominance of culture and politics. Paretsky's detective Warshawski is challenged by and defiant of both SAs, in the form of local and federal law enforcement agencies, and the ISAs of communications, culture, and politics. Warshawski resists both SAs and ISAs by seizing the discourse in interrogations by law-enforcement officials and by exposing the ideological corruption of American culture. In Blacklist, the cultural discourse drives and is driven by the ideology, and in both plots interpellation is used to compel the public to acquiesce to State and Ideological dominance. By these means both governmental and cultural hegemony are maintained, at the cost of truth and justice. Although the hardboiled-detective formula has a history of resistance to corruption in state and cultural mechanisms, we find in Paretsky's Blacklist a shift in the paradigm. Here, Warshawski opposes State Apparatuses whose corruption of the Constitution has been codified. Although Paretsky's detective does not find justice in America's post-9/11 world, the novel itself stands as the author's assertion that America's citizens must speak up against all convergences of State Apparatuses and Ideological State Apparatuses that eat at the core of democracy.

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