In the Penal Colony Questions and Answers
by Franz Kafka

Start Your Free Trial

How is Kafka's "In the Penal Colony" the representative of Althusser's concept of ISA and RSA? Give references from the text to justify your answer.

Kafka's "In the Penal Colony" is representative of ISAs and RSAs through the example of the machine itself, which is an aspect of the institutionalized violence of the colony and is a kind of grotesque work of art that literally inscribes the values of repression on the bodies of its victims.

Expert Answers info

Octavia Cordell eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)

calendarEducator since 2016

write1,161 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

In Althusser's thought, Repressive State Apparatuses (RSAs) refer to state institutions that repress the working class through use of force. These institutions (the military, the courts, the police, etc.) are distinguished from Ideological State Apparatuses (ISAs), which repress the working class by propagating a set of values that tend to reproduce the means of production. In a general sense, ISA's refer to different cultural institutions or practices,...

(The entire section contains 236 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

check Approved by eNotes Editorial