Understanding Derrida’s “Structure, Sign, and Play”

Najah A. Almabrouk


Deconstruction, a philosophical post-structural theory derived mainly from the work of the French philosopher Jacques Derrida, has evoked a great controversial debate over the past few decades. Promoting a sophisticated philosophical view of literary criticism, deconstruction has always been a complicated topic to comprehend especially for students and novice researchers in the field of literary criticism. This article review paper attempts to present an explanation of the main notions of the theory by reviewing one of Derrida’s most influencing articles on critical theory: “Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences”. The article which marked the birth of post-structuralism theory, was first delivered in 1966 at John Hopkins International Colloquium on “The Language of Criticism and the Sciences of Man”. This seminal work of Derrida criticizes structuralism for the great importance given to centralism and binary oppositions for the sake of accessing meaning. It can be claimed that the article sums up his ideas on deconstruction which in fact attacks all notions of center, totality and origin. Deconstruction is perceived as a method of breaking down and analyzing text in an attempt to approach some new interpretations which might be totally different from any other previous ones.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22158/eltls.v2n4p43


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