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‘Derrida and the Deconstruction of Authority’

Newman, Saul. 2001. ‘Derrida and the Deconstruction of Authority’. Philosophy and Social Criticism, 27(3), pp. 1-10. ISSN 0191-4537 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article explores the political aspect of Derrida’s work, in particular his critique of authority. Derrida employs a series of strategies to expose the antagonisms within Western philosophy, whose structures of presence provide a rational and essentialist foundation for political institutions. Therefore, Derrida’s interrogation of the universalist claims of philosophy may be applied to the pretensions of political authority. Moreover, I argue that Derrida’s deconstruction of the two paths of ‘reading’ - inversion and subversion - may be applied to the question of revolutionary politics, to show that revolution often culminates in the reaffirmation of authority. Derrida navigates a path between these two strategies, allowing one to formulate philosophical and political strategies that work at the limits of discourse, thereby pointing to an outside. This outside, I argue, is crucial to radical politics because it unmasks the violence and illegitimacy of institutions and laws.

Item Type:

Article

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.1177/019145370102700301

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Politics

Dates:

DateEvent
2001Published

Item ID:

12624

Date Deposited:

11 Aug 2015 14:50

Last Modified:

30 Jun 2017 12:21

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/12624

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