Define deconstructionism with an emphasis on post- structuralism.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Deconstruction is the term that postmodernists use to describe the breakdown of supposedly absolutist constructs like "truth, knowledge, and certainty."  It was coined by Jacques Derrida and became strongly associated with postmodernism.  The idea of deconstruction involves seeking to assert a lack of fundamental totality, a willingness to embrace as many angles as possible.  To a certain extent, deconstruction involves a sense of "confusion" in that there is little that can be taken as totalizing and authoritative.  It seeks to enhance and broaden the dialogue, something that it has seen totality seek to eliminate.  In true postmodern fashion, language and labels are constructed as merely different ways or vehicles of expression.  Post- structuralism embodies the same realities as deconstruction. Post- structuralism seems to be residing in the realm of literary studies and textual analysis, whereas deconstructionism is more representative of philosophical inquiry and epistemological tenets.  Yet, both of them reflect the same basic idea in a questioning of totality and assessing the criteria by which one can claim authority in the suggestion that there is a fundamental lack of it.

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