The Influence of Jacques Derrida’s Deconstruction on Contemporary Sociology

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Throughout the development of sociology as a discipline, the main backdrop to both sociological field-work and theory has been the distinction between Self and Other – or subject and object – expressed more broadly through the study of the interplay between individuals and institutions. With the advent of poststructuralist thinking, also known as postmodernism, the preference toward this distinction has come under suspicion by some contemporary sociologists and philosophers. Critics typically charge postmodernism with holding subjectivity to higher ground than objectivity, that postmodernism is exclusively relativist in that it questions the unity of an objective reality. That is only partially the case; Jacques Derrida, one of the more …show more content…
Deconstruction has caught on, and the humanities today have a heavy Derridean postmodernist flavor that continues to drive the field into more nuanced and complex territory. However, in order to understand this change in the way the humanities are currently conceptualized, tracing the life and works of its most noted author, Jacques Derrida, brings this trend into a more understandable view. According to autobiographical accounts, Derrida spent a good part of his childhood in French Algeria during the late years of World War II. Having been expelled from his high school by the Vichy government of France under anti-Semitic policies, he was determined to achieve his dreams of being a professional soccer player yet nevertheless continued reading early philosophers in an effort to come to grips with his relationship to his family and society. In an interview with Derrida by Derek Attridge in 1992, Derrida elaborated: “…it is true that my interest in literature, diaries, journals in general, also signified a typical, stereotypical revolt against the family. My passion for Nietzche, Rousseau, and also Gide, whom I read a lot at that time, meant among other things: ‘Families, I hate you.’ I thought of literature as the end of the family, and of the society it represented.” In retrospection it may seem that his childhood contained the kernel that grew into his future work, but the first real influence that shaped his

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