Although there were several words in Butler's essay that I had to look up, I found the word interpellating popping up in almost every paragraph so I decided that since I had never seen or heard the word used before, that it would probably be wise to post on it and define it.

The OED defines interpellate as "To interrupt (a person) in speaking; hence, to break in on or interrupt (a process or action)."

In Gender is Burning Butler uses the term to describe how a person becomes recognized as a subject of society. When police officers enforce and interpellate the law, it grants a person recognition and to some extent "social existence," but Butler wonders if this subjectification can occur without the fear of penalty? Is it possible to separate the powers of punishment and the powers of recognition?

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