Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Deconstruction/Binnary Opposition

Bumped for edit below.
I wanted to give a couple of links to look at deconstruction.
Usually the best place to start is Wiki so: Deconstruction.
What deconstruction is not

It is easier to explain what deconstruction is not than what it is. According to Derrida, deconstruction is not an analysis, a critique, a method, an act, nor an operation (Derrida, 1985, p. 3). Further, deconstruction is not, properly speaking, a synonym for "destruction." Rather, according to Barbara Johnson, it is a specific kind of analytical "reading":
Deconstruction is in fact much closer to the original meaning of the word 'analysis' itself, which etymologically means "to undo" — a virtual synonym for "to de-construct." ... If anything is destroyed in a deconstructive reading, it is not the text, but the claim to unequivocal domination of one mode of signifying over another. A deconstructive reading is a reading which analyzes the specificity of a text's critical difference from itself." (Johnson, 1981)

In addition, despite what Derrida's many detractors claim, deconstruction is not the same as nihilism or relativism. It is not the abandonment of all meaning, but attempts to demonstrate that Western thought has not satisfied its quest for a "transcendental signifier" that will give meaning to all other signs. According to Derrida, "Deconstruction is not an enclosure in nothingness, but an openness to the other" (Derrida, 1984, p. 124), and an attempt "to discover the non-place or non-lieu which would be that 'other' of philosophy" (ibid. p. 112). Thus, meaning is "out there," but it cannot be located by Western metaphysics, because text gets in the way.

It would also be good to read the link under Approaching a definition of deconstruction and understanding Binnary Opposition is also useful.

This next link has a interesting way of trying to teach Deconstruction: Tamara Door.
And for a pretty indepth look at Deconstruction: BEYOND DECONSTRUCTION.

Before I make your head explode, this next site is the first that says How To Deconstruct Almost Anything.
This is the story of one computer professional's explorations in the world of postmodern literary criticism. I'm a working software engineer, not a student nor an academic nor a person with any real background in the humanities. Consequently, I've approached the whole subject with a somewhat different frame of mind than perhaps people in the field are accustomed to. Being a vulgar engineer I'm allowed to break a lot of the rules that people in the humanities usually have to play by, since nobody expects an engineer to be literate. Ha. Anyway, here is my tale.
So, what are we to make of all this? I earlier stated that my quest was to learn if there was any content to this stuff and if it was or was not bogus. Well, my assessment is that there is indeed some content, much of it interesting. The question of bogosity, however, is a little more difficult. It is clear that the forms used by academicians writing in this area go right off the bogosity scale, pegging my bogometer until it breaks. The quality of the actual analysis of various literary works varies tremendously and must be judged on a case-by-case basis, but I find most of it highly questionable. Buried in the muck, however, are a set of important and interesting ideas: that in reading a work it is illuminating to consider the contrast between what is said and what is not said, between what is explicit and what is assumed, and that popular notions of truth and value depend to a disturbingly high degree on the reader's credulity and willingness to accept the text's own claims as to its validity.

If I have not bored you to tears the next one is presenting the techniques in a fairly easy way to understand: Using Deconstruction to Astonish Friends
& Confound Enemies (in 2 easy steps).

Misc. links:
deconstructmusic(deconstruct punk band)
25 Rules of Disinformation

Edit (5-8-2007):
Deconstructing the Hebrew University's Embrace of Fatuous Pseudo-Thinking was an excellent critique of Deconstructionism and some dangerous Liberal group think.

Edit (6-11-2007):
"neoliberal polyarchic pseudo democratic [promoting] globalism"

Edit (7-20-2007):
binary opposition
Just a couple of more definitions (above) but the following two on the movie Pi should be interesting.
Pi Intro
Pi the Movie



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