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This article is taken from PN Review 33, Volume 10 Number 1, September - October 1983.

After the Event - Deconstruction and Darstellbarkeit Martin Stanton

MANY hopes have been pinned in recent years on that magic process called deconstruction. So far its operators have largely restricted themselves to exploring primary semantic units, phonemes, morphemes, mathemes, and other shapes, but its aim is essentially panoramic. At some projected stage in the future the picture will be complete and every field of research from speech to writing, painting to photography, and music to algebra, will be deconstructed. What will this achieve? Probably a set of patterns of meaning displayed in different forms of discourse, all neatly fixed in the functions of some machine called mind or psyche, with a hierarchy speading from the unconscious to the conscious. These patterns, of course, will be shown to conflict, producing the impetus of the process traditionally called dialectics. But for the pattern to exist at all, for the conflict to take some set form, there has to be some pre-existent plan, triggered off somewhere near birth. Psychologically, then, some primary unit of time is required, prefiguring conflict, which strings together, all these diffuse levels of meaning. This is traditionally called 'the event'. Thanks to Lacan, deconstructivists have managed to situate it at the point when the infant starts to construct in speech and to order how he or she relates to objects. From that point on, supposedly, the child is free in principle to deconstruct logically by establishing conflicts prefigured within the first event paradigm and underlying each act of communication in sequence. The child will be able to ...

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