Difference / différance

(138 words)
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Preliminary entry

A central concept to the philosophical and critical movement known as 'Deconstruction' inaugurated by Jacques Derrida in the late 1960s. Starting from Ferdinand de Saussure's Cours de linguistique générale (1916; Course in General Linguistics), Derrida observes that to find the meaning of any word one must refer to other words, so meaning does not consist in this particular word but rather in a series of semantic relations which logically end nowhere. Meaning depends on the difference between words, and is always deferred both in time and space. This undeniable fact of language is always denied by the tendency of authorities -- the church, the law -- to assert that certain …

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Editors. "Difference / différance". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 November 2001
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=277, accessed 18 April 2014.]

Related Groups

  1. Poststructuralism and Deconstruction