The Role Of Ideological State Apparatuses In Identity Formation In Qaisra Shahraz’s: The Holy Woman


  • Dr Amna Saeed Department of Humanities COMSATS, Islamabad
  • Azher khan Department of Humanities COMSATS, Islamabad



This research aims to critically analyze the role of Ideological State Apparatuses, defined by Louis Althusser, in identity formation of Zari Bano, the protagonist in the novel “The Holy Woman” written by Qaisra Shahraz. According to Althusser, ideology functions through ISAs which change individuals to ideological subjects within capitalist society. This study focuses on the influences of the cultural ISA, the political ISA and the family ISA on the character of Zari Bano. The study also analyzes the moments of ‘interpellation’ by critically evaluating the text of the novel and reveals how the characters act in certain ways and blindly accept certain beliefs and ideologies. The findings of the research indicate that the ISAs play a crucial role in formation of individuals’ identities and the socio-cultural / political ideologies set double standards in a patriarchal society, particularly for women, which are difficult to challenge. The research is significant as it deals with the issue of passive discursive ideologies at work in setting up different norms and values in a patriarchal society and how these are given the status of natural laws of life to be followed blindly by the social subjects. This research study is limited to the analysis of interpellation and ISAs only on Zari Bano and the characters closely related to her within the first part of the novel. The study is replicable and may draw attention of the scholars to investigate the role of ISAs other than those in this paper and explain action and reactions of the characters involved.




How to Cite

Saeed, A., & Khan, A. (2017). The Role Of Ideological State Apparatuses In Identity Formation In Qaisra Shahraz’s: The Holy Woman. Pakistan Journal of Gender Studies, 14(1), 37–52.