Quote from : Literary Theory: An Introduction Book

What Althusser does… is to rethink the concept of ideology in terms of Lacan’s ‘imaginary’. For the relation of an individual subject to society as a whole in Althusser’s theory is rather like the relation of the small child to his or her mirror-image in Lacan’s. In both cases, the human subject is supplied with a satisfyingly unified image of selfhood by identifying with an object which reflects this image back to it in a closed, narcissistic circle. In both cases, too, this image involves a misrecognition, since it idealizes the subject’s real situation. The child is not actually as integrated as its image in the mirror suggests; I am not actually the coherent, autonomous, self generating subject I know myself to be in the ideological sphere, but the ‘decentred’ function of several social determinants. Duly enthralled by the image of myself I receive, I subject myself to it; and it is through this ‘subjection’ that I become a subject.