Apr 4, 2014

Animal silhouettes

Many have talked about the fact that, in Derrida's deconstructive readings, the signifier he obsesses over doesn't need to be really there. To be sure, in many of his analyses he finds a specific word whose flickering of meanings will reveal the symptoms of différance at play in the given text (think of Rousseau's supplement, or Plato's pharmakon). But that is not always the case, and some have stressed that such a privileged signifier does not need to actually feature in the text. Its importance, however, is situated by the other signifiers, so that it's silhouetted against them. It may not emerge once, but its 'presence' is secured precisely by the strategic placement of all the other words. Like this: