2600 Day 20

From Saussure's binaries, to Greimas's semiotic squares, to Derrida's infinite webs of signifiers...

Some new Deconstruction notes 2014 (including critiques of Marxism and 2nd Wave feminism's desire to embrace the natural positives of femininity)...Quick Notes from 2012

Structuralism tries to limit the chaos of X group of texts or events to the smallest universal--Newton, the scientist, is credited with coming up with general laws that governed the universe (See Cosmos on Nat Geo)...

Deconstruction theory wants to complexify what was thought to be simple or "natural" and absolute (thus it has the opposite agenda to structuralism?). Tree, for instance, is never just one thing or signifier, it is many (like the tree sculpture in the west desert of Utah)

Deconstruction theory--Derrida's erasure of the signified (see Schole's linguistics history table that I refer to often in class, showing the move from signnifier--signified, to the erasure of the signified)

--Deconstruction lecture and practice with texts.

Deconstruction looks at how binaries are usually hierarchical, and how this hierarchy is not actually natural or absolute (though our culture often tells us it is natural--this is a harmful ideology). If everything is a signifier (if all our meaning, our language world is full of webs of signifiers), then meaning is complex and shifting and culturally based rather than absolute or natural.

Think about the hierarchy of The Great Chain of Being (from the Elizabethan period--see the main MacBeth page), and how it might have changed over time (and the racism of the Victorians)...


Many people think statistics and polls are more absolutely "trustworthy," and not subject to interpretation, because "numbers don't lie!" (here's an overview of the Pew poll on Mormons in 2011; or this conservative interpretation of the Pew poll on Mormons from 2012; here's the Deseret News presentation of a 2012 pole; here's another re-presentation of those stats from a national news source, ABCNews.com; here's the Pew poll link itself)

Think of the slipperyness of signifiers in advertising campaigns like those from American's for Prosperity (natural gas production is proven safe...)

The movie Amelie 3:35--a deconstruction of our usual binaries of parents (the film deconstructs and constructs these binaries--the mom is neurotic and the teacher, but she's just as anal as her husband, and neither of them a nurturing; there is a display of slippery signifiers as Amelie redefines many of the things she finds in her environment--it's also magically real)

Deconstruction, and Colbert's "Truthiness" (book knowledge vs. feeling knowledge)