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Deconstruction: For Jacques Derrida, deconstruction is a method of analyzing texts and other cultural objects in order to expose the hidden assumptions and biases that underlie them. It is a way of questioning the taken-for-granted and of challenging the status quo. Derrida argued that all texts are inherently unstable and that their meaning is always changing.
Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Jacques Derrida on Deconstruction - Dictionary of Arguments

Gaus I 26
Deconstruction/Derrida/Ball: In Derrida’s version of postmodernism, the aim of interpretation is to expose and criticize the arbitrary or constructed character of claims to truth or knowledge, particularly by examining various binary oppositions or dichotomies such as knower/ known, object/representation, text/interpretation, true/false – a process that Derrida (1976)(1) calls ‘deconstruction’.
Preresentation/Derrida: According to Derrida, all attempts to ‘represent’ reality produce, not knowledge or truth, but only different ‘representations’, none of which can be proven to be better or truer than any other. All social phenomena and forms of human experience – wars, revolutions, relations between the sexes, and so on – exist only through their representations or ‘texts’. And just as a literary text has many possible interpretations, so, says Derrida, do these other texts admit of multiple and contradictory ‘readings’ or interpretations. And all interpretations of meaning are in the final analysis ‘indeterminate’ and ‘undecidable’. As Derrida famously puts it, ‘there is nothing outside the text’ and even within the text its constitutive concepts or ‘signifiers’ have no stable meaning. Ambiguities within the text only increase with the passage of time and multiple and varied readings, until the text’s signifiers float freely and playfully apart, so that the reader – not the author – constructs whatever meaning the text may be said to have. Thus ‘the death of the author’ refers not to a physical fact but to an artifact of postmodernist interpretation. >Facts/Postmodernism
, >Postmodernism/Ball, >Interpretation/Postmodernism.

1. Derrida, J. 1976. Of Grammatology, trans. Gayatrai Spivak. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Ball, Terence. 2004. „History and the Interpretation of Texts“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Derrida I
J. Derrida
De la grammatologie, Paris 1967
German Edition:
Grammatologie Frankfurt 1993

Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004

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