Decoding the Differences Between Deconstructionism and Poststructuralism

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From Keesey’s Introduction to Chapter 6, “Poststructural Criticism: Language as Context”:

“Poststructuralism, then, may be more broadly defined as the application of a deconstructive language model to all aspects of culture and thought” (350).

Much of what Keesey explained in his introduction to poststructuralism has already been explained by our reading from Eagleton last week.  There was something that Keesey cleared up for me though that Eagleton did not.  Angela considered the differences between deconstruction and poststructuralism in her blog last week, upon reading her questioning of their differences, I realized I didn’t really know what the difference between the two was either.  But, Keesey explained the difference in his quote above.  Deconstruction is the tool we use to take apart a work layer by layer and consider all its parts, even the conflicting ones.  While poststructuralism is the broader category of criticism which can apply not just to literature, but to “all aspects of culture and thought.”  It reminds me a little bit of the difference between close reading and formalism.  Close reading is a tool we use to do a formalist reading of a work, just as we can use “deconstructive language” to do a poststructuralist reading.    

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1 Comments

Angela Palumbo said:

Greta, I was refreshed by reading this entry. (I know that that was a little bit of a hyperbole but nontheless, it is good.) I really liked the concise way you explained these two terms. What I don't think many literary critics understand is that for explanations, concise and to-the-point is best. I also like how you related it to close reading and formalism. Basically, Poststructuralism is the President. He gets all the credit for the things that work out in his administration and all the blame as well even though it's the little guys underneath him that do all the work. Of course, deconstruction would be one of these "little guys." Once again, great job!

On another note, how would you use poststructuralism or deconstruction to write a paper? I'm still baffled by this one.

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