Tuesday, January 16, 2024

(More on) 'Deconstruction'


                                                              (South Central Kenya)

'Deconstruction' does not mean "dismantling." The opposite of 'deconstruction' is not 'reconstruction'. That would render the term banal, nugatory.

Mark C. Taylor (Columbia University) writes:

“Mr. [Jacques] Derrida's name is most closely associated with the often cited but rarely understood term "deconstruction." Initially formulated to define a strategy for interpreting sophisticated written and visual works, deconstruction has entered everyday language. When responsibly understood, the implications of deconstruction are quite different from the misleading cliches often used to describe a process of dismantling or taking things apart. The guiding insight of deconstruction is that every structure -- be it literary, psychological, social, economic, political or religious -- that organizes our experience is constituted and maintained through acts of exclusion. In the process of creating something, something else inevitably gets left out. These exclusive structures can become repressive -- and that repression comes with consequences. In a manner reminiscent of Freud, Mr. Derrida insists that what is repressed does not disappear but always returns to unsettle every construction, no matter how secure it seems.” Mark C. Taylor, “What Derrida Really Meant,” NYT Op-Ed, p. 26, Oct 14, 2004. (Bold mine.)