Deconstruction is an apparent revolution against all the literary theories before itself which vouch for a unity in the literary texts. This article was most recently revised and updated by, Deconstruction in the social sciences and the arts. It's the 'whole' of the metal itself and the 'holes' in between that make up the future building's shape. In psychoanalysis, deconstructive readings of texts by Sigmund Freud and others drew attention to the role of language in the formation of the psyche; showed how psychoanalytic case studies are shaped by the kinds of psychic mechanisms that they purport to analyze (thus, Freud’s writings are themselves organized by processes of repression, condensation, and displacement); and questioned the logocentric presuppositions of psychoanalytic theory. As J. Hillis Miller, the preeminent American deconstructionist, has explained in an essay entitled Stevens’ Rock and Criticism as Cure (1976), “Deconstruction is not a dismantling of the structure of a text, but a demonstration that it has already dismantled itself. Deconstruction is a poststructuralist theory, based largely but not exclusively on the writings of Derrida. Consequently, its diffusion was met with a sizeable body of opposition. By Nasrullah Mambrol on March 22, 2016 • ( 10 ), Deconstruction involves the close reading of texts in order to demonstrate that any given text has irreconcilably contradictory meanings, rather than being a unified, logical whole. It is in the first instance a philosophical theory and a theory directed towards the (re)reading of philosophical writings. Categories: Linguistics, Literary Criticism, Literary Theory, Uncategorized, Tags: Deconstruction, Jacques Derrida, Roland Barthes, Stevens' Rock and Criticism as Cure. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Derrida, who coined the term deconstruction, argues that in Western culture, people tend to think and express their thoughts in terms of binary oppositions (white / black, masculine / feminine, cause /effect, conscious /unconscious, presence / absence, speech writing). Deconstruction: School of philosophy and literary criticism forged in the writings of the French philosopher Jacques Derrida and the Belgium/North American literary critic Paul De Man.Deconstruction can perhaps best be described as a theory of reading which aims … They reject the formalist view that a work of literature is demonstrably unified from beginning to end, in one certain way, or that it is organized around a single centre that ultimately can be identified. Barbara Johnson and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak , for example, both translators of Derrida’s work, were instrumental in bringing Deconstruction into Feminism , Psychoanalysis , and the critique of gender … It is in the first instance a philosophical theory and a theory directed towards the (re)reading of philosophical writings. QUESTION. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Structuralists believed that all elements of human culture, including literature, may be understood as parts of a system of signs. Have you ever seen the scaffolding that goes up during the construction of a building? Derrida, in "Signature Event Context," addressed this limited view of post-structural theory: "Deconstruction cannot limit or proceed immediately to a neutralization: it must…practice an overturning of the classical opposition and a general displacement of the system. The critical movement generally known as deconstruction centred on the instability and protean ambiguity of language. Deconstructionism (or sometimes just Deconstruction) is a 20th Century school in philosophy initiated by Jacques Derrida in the 1960s. A brief, simplified explanation of Literary Deconstruction for a college course project. Similarly, deconstructionlooks at what makes a text whole and what holes are in between its piec… Jacques Derrida, the 20th century French literary theorist, pioneered the school of thought in literature and philosophy known as “deconstructionism.” Deconstructionists were part of a larger movement, known as the “post-modern” movement. Deconstruction initially translates a term coined by the French philosopher (and arch-deconstructionist) Jacques Derrida. Derrida claimed that all of his essays were attempts to define what deconstruction is, and that deconstruction is necessarily complicated and difficult to explain since it actively criticises the very language needed to explain it. Deconstruction and some analogue of its operation are, however, today not confined to just the fields of literature and philosophy. Deconstructionism and literature If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website. Derrida challenged the conventional cultural markers of…. It seeks to find the differences, contradictions, paradoxes, ambiguity and disintegration (in short, loopholes) in the text. Formalists ultimately make sense of the ambiguities they find in a given text, arguing that every ambiguity serves a definite, meaningful, and demonstrable literary function. They generally examined the individual work not as a self-contained artifact but as a product of relations with other texts or discourses, literary and nonliterary. The work of Judith Butler, for example, challenged the claim that feminist politics requires a distinct identity for women. In anthropology, deconstruction contributed to an increased awareness of the role that anthropological field-workers play in shaping, rather than merely describing, the situations they report on and to a greater concern about the discipline’s historical connections to colonialism. Deconstruction tends to be used in literary theory in arguments between and among theorists about the value of their theories, rather than about the value of the texts under discussion. Some philosophers, especially those in the Anglo-American tradition, dismissed it as obscurantist wordplay whose major claims, when intelligible, were either trivial or false. This perspective was influential in gay and lesbian studies, or “queer theory,” as the academic avant-garde linked to movements of gay liberation styled itself. It owed its origins in part to the linguistic and other work of French philosophers and critics such as Ferdinand de Saussure, Michel Foucault, and Jacques Derrida. Structuralist methods were soon applied to other areas of the social sciences and humanities, including literary studies. Most generally, deconstruction joined with other strands of poststructural and postmodern thinking to inspire a suspicion of established intellectual categories and a skepticism about the possibility of objectivity. It is a theory of literary criticism that questions traditional assumptions about certainty, identity, and truth; asserts that words can only refer to other words; and attempts to demonstrate how statements about any text subvert their own meanings. Undecidability, by contrast, is never reduced, let alone mastered in deconsctruction. Beginning in France in the 1950s, the structuralist movement in anthropology analyzed various cultural phenomena as general systems of “signs” and attempted to develop “metalanguages” of terms and concepts in which the different sign systems could be described. Deconstruction’s reception was coloured by its intellectual predecessors, most notably structuralism and New Criticism. The resources are in a variety of formats: Websites, PDF, videos, PowerPoint, RSS feeds, Podcasts, etc. Shift your focus a little, and you'll see the spaces between the frame's 'bones.' Literary Theories - A Guide: Deconstruction Provides links to a variety of mostly free resource information about various literary theories. Deconstructive readings, in contrast, treated works of art not as the harmonious fusion of literal and figurative meanings but as instances of the intractable conflicts between meanings of different types. The movement explored fundamental oppositions such as public and private, essence and accident, and substance and form. In the United States, the Critical Legal Studies movement applied deconstruction to legal writing in an effort to reveal conflicts between principles and counterprinciples in legal theory. Deconstruction was both created and has been profoundly influenced by the French philosopher Jacques Derrida. WHAT DO THEY THINK ABOUT HUMBERTO ECO THEORIES ABOUT THE MULTIPLES READINGS ANY TEXT HAVE INSIDE…. In the United States in the 1970s and ’80s, deconstruction played a major role in the animation and transformation of literary studies by literary theory (often referred to simply as “theory”), which was concerned with questions about the nature of language, the production of meaning, and the relationship between literature and the numerous discourses that structure human experience and its histories. Derrida suggests these oppositions are hierarchies in miniature, containing one term that Western culture views as positive or superior and another considered negative or inferior, even if only slightly so. …the challenge of postmodernism and deconstruction been felt more keenly than in the history of ideas. Finally, these readings placed special emphasis on the ways in which the works themselves offered implicit critiques of the categories that critics used to analyze them. 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