Deconstruction is a method of reading which is based on the assumption that language is unreliable. The goal of a deconstructionist reading is to seek out the contradictions in the text to prove that the text lacks unity and coherence. The point isn't really to show that the text means the opposite of what it is supposed to mean, but that there can be no actual interpretation of the text. Although deconstruction is primarily applied to the written word, some practitioners use deconstructive techniques to analyze concepts, systems and institutions.

People of the Movement

The French philosopher Jaques Derrida invented both the term Deconstruction and the method in the 1960's.

Related Movements

According to Derrida, deconstruction is an outgrowth of the recognition by Friedrich Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger that the writer's and the reader's desire for the certainty of meaning results in the repression of other possible meanings. Deconstruction also reflects the Structuralists', notably de Saussure's, characterization of language as a collection of signs in which meaning is transient and arbitrary and therefore uncertain. Deconstruction is central to Post-Structuralism.

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