Notes on the theory of Deconstruction:
- People: – Jacques Derrida (main founder), Nietschze, Heiddiger, Marx, Althusser , Plato, Saussure,
Eg. Marx’s “Religion is the opium of the masses” is Deconstructionist, breaking down the discourse of powerful religion to effect the weaker society.
- Institutions- works to expose institutions of Religion, Law, Political class, Males, Whites, Colonialists………
- Era- late 60’s to 1980’s (context -Paris student riots- overcoming government, independence of Algeria over colonial French)
What does it do? It’s a Post structuralist, Post-modern way of reading Texts……. Eg text, images, films…..
Derrida’s essay “Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of Human Sciences”,
It allows us to deconstruct the text and reveal it’s inherent CONSTRUCTEDNESS.
Western thought and philosophy is not a ‘natural’ but is constructed and cycled through society by institutions forming a Discourse. Since PLATO Western philosophy iss dominated by various ideas, inc. Religion, enlightenment, Binary opposition, Centredness, Hierarchy, unchanging sign-signifier-signified , voice over writing,
- The binaries are endless – male v female, young v old, west v East, Good v Bad, God v devil…………..speech v writing. These dualisms are never equivalent; they are always hierarchically ranked.
- Queer theory, feminism, post-colonialism are related ……..these are attacks on the stsus quo of powerful institutions.
- Technical aspects: voice v writing, graphie (written form) , gram, differance, trace (the originary- but is not original and has no centre),
- Revealing the inherent biases and positions of a text: re frozen signs/ bias of one of the binary pair
- Allowing an alternative meaning/reading/discourse……where there is a slippery/shifting sign , and a balancing of the hierarchical relationship eg….toward the weaker….. and a recognition that there are no absolute oppositions….
Derrida’s ‘différance’ is both semiotic and philosophical. The a represents several features in the application of this theory:
- Différance is the difference that shows there is no origin (Différer =to differ). Something can only differ wrt to something else…..
- Différance is written: we can see the a that we cant hear it ( voice has no hierarchy over writing)
- Différer [to defer] is to displace, shift, or elude. It means that signification is not static, but always changing. There is no ‘transcendental signified’.
A.V Club (2010) Lights! Camera! Deconstruction!: 19 movies that double as movie criticism [online at] http://www.avclub.com/article/lights-camera-deconstruction-19-movies-that-double-47629 [accessed 15th June 2016]
Gnanasekaran, R. (2015) An Introduction to Derrida, Deconstruction and PostStructuralism [online at] http://www.academicresearchjournals.org/IJELC/PDF/2015/July/Gnanasekaran.pdfhttp://www.academicresearchjournals.org/IJELC/PDF/2015/July/Gnanasekaran.pdf
[accessed 15th June 2016]
Stanford university (nd), Jacques Derrida-Deconstruction [online at]https://prelectur.stanford.edu/lecturers/derrida/deconstruction.html [accessed 15th June 2016]
The Bubble (2010), An introduction to deconstruction [online at] http://www.thebubble.org.uk/culture/literature/an-introduction-to-deconstruction/ [accessed 15th June 2016]