Since I have been trying to understand what Derrida meant by “deconstruction” (see here) it was fun running across this video on YouTube where Derrida is asked about deconstruction. In contrast with the quotation I shared that presented deconstruction as parasitic, Derrida says that it is, “to not naturalize what isn’t natural–to not assume that what is conditioned by history, institutions, or society is natural.”
When reading a text then this does not mean Derrida sought to denounce meaning, or that he did not see understanding as possible, but in some sense it appears that he asks us to read text with a critical eye. I see value in this aspect of deconstruction. When reading The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, or The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx, it would do a committed capitalist or communist well to deconstruct these text.
I know this doesn’t encapsulate deconstruction, but it is a valuable insight.
Thanks for this Brian! Totally watching the documentary that clip is taken from. The man fascinates me…
The more I read about him the more I see why so many have found him so interesting. I don’t know if literary theory is as important in how I read him as his overall willingness to criticize so-called “givens” in society that force certain others to become “outsiders”.
Comments are closed.