Deconstruction and Democracy (Bloomsbury Studies in Continental Philosophy)
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‘No democracy without deconstruction': Deconstruction and Democracy evaluates and substantiates Derrida's provocative claim, assessing the importance of this influential and controversial contemporary philosopher's work for political thought. Derrida addressed political questions more and more explicitly in his writing, yet there is still confusion over the politics of deconstruction. Alex Thomson argues for a fresh understanding of Derrida's work, which acknowledges both the political dimension of deconstruction and its potential contribution to our thinking about politics. The book provides cogent analysis and exegesis of Derrida's political writings; explores the implications for political theory and practice of Derrida's work; and brings Derrida's work into dialogue with other major strands of contemporary political thought. Deconstruction and Democracy is the clearest and most detailed engagement available with the politics of deconstruction, and is a major contribution to scholarship on the later works of Jacques Derrida, most notably his Politics of Friendship.
of phallogocentrism. Here qua phratrocentrism’ [POF 278 / 309]. The possibility seems to be left open here, as so often in Derrida’s work, that, in the form of the question set out by Paola Marrati, sexual difference might not be merely one difference among others; this question must at least remain open.11 These ﬁnal two questions appear to be addressed as much to any form of politics and political system or any state as they are to democracy in particular. In the latter case, the concept of
politics considered as unending struggle to replace both the liberal teleology of progress towards consensus and revolutionary socialism, does a more sophisticated, but equally teleological, model Deconstruction and Radical Democracy 45 of the ends of politics creep in: the ideal social and discursive conditions for such a political process? Or is radical democracy a re-description of the relationship between politics and the social sphere – akin to recent work on civil society – designed to
discern freedom in democracy, because democracy is deﬁned as bourgeois [and] unable to discern servitude in totalitarianism’? Is the concept of democracy as Derrida understands it, as McCarthy claims, ‘ineffable’? Would this conﬁrm our lingering suspicions that a messianic politics is a politics that waits for an interruption that could only come from outside the system within which that politics functions? Only by bearing certain factors in mind can we avoid rushing to such a hasty and
the ‘inﬁnite idea’ of hospitality must also be the principle of a possible resistance to the state or the judiciary. However, it is Derrida’s use of the essay ‘On Perpetual Peace’ which is more germane to my argument here. In his reading of this essay Derrida links his account of hospitality to the problem of a cosmopolitanism, whose complicity with nationalism, with the national afﬁrmation of even the most universalist philosophy, we have already seen Derrida questioning. At the heart of ‘On
admission that: all political concepts, images and terms have a polemical meaning. They are focused on a speciﬁc conﬂict and are bound to a concrete situation; the result (which manifests itself in war or revolution) is a friend–enemy grouping, and they turn into empty and ghostlike abstractions when this situation disappears. [CP 30] Schmitt has in mind ‘words such as state, republic, society, class, as well as sovereignty, constitutional state, absolutism, dictatorship, economic planning,