Bookmark and Share

Deconstruction as Method for Political Analysis


Copenhagen Graduate School of Social Sciences


Course dates: 27 –28 April 2020

Organizer and lecturer: Dr Lasse Thomassen, University of Copenhagen and Queen Mary, University of London

Place/Venue: CSS, University of Copenhagen, Øster Farimagsgade 5, 1353 Copenhagen K

Room number: to be confirmed

Meals: Lunch and coffee/tea will be provided both days

ECTS: 1 point

Registration: The course accepts a maximum of 15 participants on a first come, first serve basis. The final deadline for signing up for the course is 29 February 2020. To register please send an e-mail to phdcourses@ifs.ku.dk.

 

Description

The course consists of seven sessions across two days. It is aimed at research students and young researchers, who wish to learn more about deconstruction and how to use it for research in the humanities and social sciences. The aim of the workshop is to examine deconstruction as a method for political analysis broadly conceived. We read examples of deconstructive analyses by Jacques Derrida and others, and we discuss the methodological implications of deconstruction as well as the philosophical assumptions behind it. Deconstruction is often used in literature and cultural studies, but is little used as a method in political theory, let alone political science. Having said that, and although deconstruction is usually associated with Derrida’s work, it has been put to use by political theorists such as Judith Butler, Lisa Disch, Bonnie Honig, Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. The workshop examines the usefulness of deconstruction for the study of politics not only by reading about deconstruction, but also by seeing how it can be put to use in the analysis of texts. Each session is organised around set texts and will focus on methodological issues as well as substantial political concepts.

At the end of the course, the participants will have knowledge of the philosophical assumptions behind deconstruction, the implications of deconstruction for questions surrounding the use of methods in the social sciences and humanities, the politics of deconstruction, and the use deconstruction for concrete political analysis.

 

Format

The course runs Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 April 2020. The course consists of seven sessions. The sessions are organised around topics and specific readings, with each session focusing on at least one example of a deconstructive reading while also examining wider methodological issues arising from deconstruction. Each session will consist of a mixture of lecture, seminar discussion and discussion of research projects.

 

Requirements 

Some knowledge of post-structuralist theory will be assumed, and the sessions will run on the assumption that participants have done the set readings in advance of the course (the programme below also contains suggested additional readings relevant for each topic). An interest in theoretical questions and discussions will also be assumed. You are expected to participate actively in course activities, abstain from non-course-related activities during the course, and be present for the full duration of the course.

 

No later than Sunday 19 April 2020, participants must send a short paper of 1500 words with a statement about their research project (with particular focus on the methodological aspect of it), and how they think the course may contribute to their project. The paper should be sent to Lasse Thomassen at l.thomassen@qmul.ac.uk. The papers will be circulated to all participants prior to the course, and it is assumed that participants have read all the papers in advance. There will be opportunities to discuss individual projects during the sessions.

 

Programme

Each section is organised around set readings. Included below are a number of additional readings for those who wish to dig further into a particular topic. Good philosophical introductions to deconstruction include Rodolphe Gasché, The Tain of the Mirror: Derrida and the Philosophy of Reflection (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1986), Part II; and Susanne Lüdemann, Politics of Deconstruction: A New Introduction to Jacques Derrida (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2014). Nicholas Royle (ed.), Deconstructions: A User’s Guide (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2000) has short useful introductions to a number of topics. For deconstruction and politics, the following texts are useful: Alex Thomson, Deconstruction and Democracy (London: Bloomsbury, 2005); Geoffrey Bennington, ‘Derrida and politics’, in Tom Cohen (ed.), Jacques Derrida and the Humanities (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 193-212; and Mary Caputi and Sean Noah Walsh, ’Deconstruction and Interpretation in Political Theory’, in Sean Noah Walsh and Clement Fatovic (eds), Interpretation in Political Theory (New York: Routledge, 2017), pp. 182-204 (chapter 9). Good places to start reading Derrida are Jacques Derrida, Positions, 2nd ed., trans. Alan Bass (London: Continuum, 2002); and Jacques Derrida, Negotiations: Interventions and Interviews 1971-2001 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2002). The ‘Introduction’ in Jason Glynos and David Howarth, Logics of Critical Explanation in
Social and Political Theory
(London: Routledge, 2007) has a good discussion of the question of method in the context of post-structuralist theory.

 

Monday 27 April 2020

 

9 – 9.30         Welcome and introductions

 

9.30 – 12       Deconstruction as method: events, performatives and iterability

Is it possible to teach deconstruction? Is it possible to learn deconstruction? What does the deconstruction as/of method mean for the way one researches and writes, for instance, a PhD-thesis? What is a good (or bad) deconstructive reading? What is an event? What role does performativity play – in how we think about politics and in our research?

 

Set readings

Butler, Judith, Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative (London: Routledge, 1997), chapter 2.

Derrida, Jacques, ‘Letter to a Japanese Friend’, in Psyche: Inventions of the Other, Volume II, eds. Peggy Kamuf and Elizabeth Rottenberg (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008), pp. 1-6. Also in David Wood and Robert Bernasconi (eds), Derrida and Différance (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1988), pp. 1-5.

Derrida, Jacques, ‘Autoimmunity: Real and Symbolic Suicides – A Dialogue with Jacques Derrida,’ in Giovanna Borradori, Philosophy In a Time of Terror: Dialogues with Jürgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2003), pp. 85-136, at pp. 85-92.

 

Additional readings

Butler, Judith, ‘For a Careful Reading’, in Seyla Benhabib et al., Feminist Contentions: A Philosophical Exchange (London: Routledge, 1995), pp. 127-143.

Derrida, Jacques, Limited Inc, edited by Samuel Weber (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1988).

Derrida, Jacques, Of Grammatology, 40th Anniversary Ed. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016), pp. 171-8 (‘The Exorbitant. Question of Method’).

Fritsch, Mathias, ‘The Performative and the Normative’, in Mauro Senatore (ed.), Performatives after Deconstruction (London: Bloomsbury, 2013).

Gasché, Rodolphe, The Tain of the Mirror: Derrida and the Philosophy of Reflection (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1986), especially pp. 212-17.

Thomassen, Lasse. ‘Deconstruction as method in political theory.’ Österreichische Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft 39:1 (2010), 41-53.

Thomassen, Lasse. ‘The Politics of Iterability: Benhabib, the Hijab, and Democratic Iterations’, Polity 43:1 (2011), 128-49.

 

12 – 13          Lunch

 

13 – 15           Europe and exemplarity

What role do examples play in our research? How does one choose good examples/cases/texts? What is the relationship between particularity and universality? Is there a Europe worth hoping for after deconstruction? How can one think deconstructively about identity?

 

Set readings

Jacques Derrida, ‘The Other Heading,’ in The Other Heading: Reflections on Today’s Europe (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992), pp. 1-83, at pp. 4-20 and 75-83.

Jacques Derrida and Jürgen Habermas, ‘February 15, or What Binds Europeans Together: A plea for a Common Foreign Policy, Beginning in the Heart of Europe’, Constellations vol. 10, no. 3 (September 2003). Also in The Derrida-Habermas Reader. Edited by Lasse Thomassen, 270-7. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2006; and in Jürgen Habermas, The Divided West (Cambridge: Polity, 2006), pp. 39-48.

 

Additional readings

Caraus, Tamara, ‘Jacques Derrida and the “Europe of Hope”’, openDemocracy 23 June 2014, available at https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/can-europe-make-it/jacques-derrida-and-europe-of-hope/.

Derrida, Jacques, ‘Différance’, in Margins of Philosophy, trans. Alan Bass (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982), chapter 1. Also in Jacques Derrida, Speech and Phenomena, trans. D. Allison (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1973).

Derrida, Jacques, ‘Enlightenment past and to come’, Le Monde Diplomatique, November 2004 (http://mondediplo.com/2004/11/06derrida).

Gasché, Rodolphe, ‘“In the Name of Reason”: The Deconstruction of Sovereignty’, Research in Phenomenology 34 (2004), 289-303.

Levy, Daniel, Max Pensky and John Torpey (eds), Old Europe, New Europe, Core Europe: Transatlantic Relations After the Iraq War (London: Verso, 2005).

Mazzei, Lisa A, ‘A Deconstructive Methodology’, in Inhabited Silence in Qualitative Research: Putting Poststructural Theory to Work (Bern: Peter Lang, 2007), chapter 2 (pp. 13-26).

Naas, Michael B., ‘Introduction: For Example’, in Jacques Derrida, The Other Heading: Reflections on Today’s Europe (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992), pp. vii-lix.

Naas, Michael, Derrida From Now On (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008), chapter 4.

 

15 – 17           Film (including coffee/tea break)

What would a Derridean film about Derrida look like? What would a deconstructive biography be like? What does Derrida have for breakfast? And lunch? Does it matter? Do the sex lives of philosophers matter? Who is the author of a biography? If Derrida’s family do not understand him, who does? What is deconstruction? Is deconstruction like Seinfeld? Why also this talk about Derrida?

 

Dick Kirby and Amy Ziering Kofman, Derrida (Zeitgeist Film, 2002), 86 min.

 

Additional materials

Benoît, Peeters, Derrida: A Biography (Cambridge: Polity, 2014).

Dick, Kirby and Amy Ziering Kofman, Derrida: Screenplay and Essays on the Film (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2005).

www.derridathemovie.com

 

 

Tuesday 28 April 2020

 

9 – 10.30       Hospitality: conditional and unconditional

What is the difference between conditional and unconditional hospitality? Is unconditional hospitality possible? What about tolerance?

 

Set readings

Derrida, Jacques, ‘Autoimmunity: Real and Symbolic Suicides – A Dialogue with Jacques Derrida’, in Giovanna Borradori, Philosophy In a Time of Terror: Dialogues with Jürgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003), pp. 124-30.

Jacques Derrida, ‘Hostipitality’, trans. Barry Stocker and Forbes Morlock, Angelaki vol.5, no. 3 (2000): 3-18. Reprinted in Lasse Thomassen (ed.), The Derrida-Habermas Reader (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2006), pp. 208-30.

 

Additional readings

Derrida, Jacques, Of Hospitality: Anne Dufourmantelle Invites Jacques Derrida to Respond, trans. Rachel Bowlby (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000).

Naas, Michael, ‘Hospitality as an Open Question: Deconstruction’s Welcome Politics’, in Taking on the Tradition: Jacques Derrida and the Legacies of Deconstruction (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003), pp. 154-69.

Thomassen, Lasse, British Multiculturalism and the Politics of Representation (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2017), chapter 5.

 

10.30 – 12     Deconstructing sovereignty

What does sovereignty ‘do’? What is the relationship between sovereignty and performativity? What role does images of sovereignty play? What are the implications of the deconstruction of sovereignty for how we think about democracy and the state?

 

Set readings

Bartelson, Jens, A Genealogy of Sovereignty (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), chapters 1 and 2 (pp. 1-11 and 12-52).

Derrida, Jacques, Rogues: Two Essays on Reason (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005), Preface (xi-xv), introduction to Part 1 (1-5), §6 (63-70), §8 (78-94), §9 (95-107).

 

Additional readings

Ashley, Richard K., ‘Untying the Sovereign State: A Double Reading of the Anarchy Problematique’, Millennium 17:2 (1988): 227-62.

Bartelson, Jens, Sovereignty as Symbolic Form (London: Routledge, 2014).

Brown, Wendy, ’Sovereign Hesitations’, in Pheng Cheah and Suzanne Guerlac (eds), Derrida and the Time of the Political (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2009), pp. 114-32.

Butler, Judith, Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative (London: Routledge, 1997), chapter 2.

Derrida, Jacques, The Beast & the Sovereign: Volume I and II (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009 and 2010).

Gasché, Rodolphe, ‘“In the Name of Reason”: The Deconstruction of Sovereignty’, Research in Phenomenology 34 (2004), 289-303.

Leitch, Vincent B., ‘Late Derrida: The Politics of Sovereignty’, Critical Inquiry 33 (Winter 2007): 229-47.

Patton, Paul, ‘Deconstruction and the Problem of Sovereignty’, Derrida Today 10:1 (2017): 1-20.

Wendt, Alexander and Raymond Duvall, ’Sovereignty and the UFO’, Political Theory 36:4 (2008): 607-33.

 

12 – 13           Lunch

 

13 – 14.30     Deconstructing democracy

What is the specificity of ‘democracy to-come’? How is it related to liberal and radical democracy? Does the ‘to-come’ of ‘democracy to-come’ make any difference?

 

Set reading

Jacques Derrida, Rogues: Two Essays on Reason, trans. Pascale-Anne Brault and Michael Naas (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005), Part I (except §10).

 

Additional readings

Critchley, Simon, ‘On Derrida’s Specters of Marx’, Philosophy and Social Criticism 21:3 (1995): 1-30.

Derrida, Jacques, Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning, & the New International, trans. Peggy Kamuf (London: Routledge, 1994).

Derrida, Jacques, ‘Spectres of Marx’, New left Review 205 (May/June 1994): 31-58.

Fritsch, Mathias, ‘Derrida’s democracy to come’, Constellations 9 (2002), 574-97.

Naas, Michael, Derrida From Now On (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008), chapter 7.

Thomson, Alex, Deconstruction and Democracy (London: Bloomsbury, 2005).

 

14.30 – 16     Method as inventing: conclusion and discussion (including coffee/tea)

(How) do we invent when we do research? What are the limits to the inventiveness of our research?

 

Set reading

Derrida, Jacques, ‘Psyche: Intention of the Other’, in Psyche: Inventions of the Other, Vol. I (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2007), chapter 1 (pp. 1-47), focus on pp. 1-7 and 21-30.

 

Additional readings

Derrida, Jacques, ‘Letter to a Japanese Friend’, in Psyche: Inventions of the Other, Volume II, eds. Peggy Kamuf and Elizabeth Rottenberg (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008), pp. 1-6. Also in David Wood and Robert Bernasconi (eds), Derrida and Différance (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1988), pp. 1-5.

Mazzei, Lisa A, ‘A Deconstructive Methodology’, in Inhabited Silence in Qualitative Research: Putting Poststructural Theory to Work (Bern: Peter Lang, 2007), chapter 2 (pp. 13-26).

Thomassen, Lasse. ‘Deconstruction as method in political theory.’ Österreichische Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft 39:1 (2010), 41-53.

 


Back

Course dates
27 April 2020 - 28 April 2020
Lecturer
Dr Lasse Thomassen
Place/Venue
Øster Farimagsgade 5
Department of Political Science - University of Copenhagen
City
Copenhagen
ECTS
1 points
Link
https://phdcourses.dk/Course/69841
Block-scheduling
No

If you want your phd course shown on this site, please contact your local Phd-school.
If you have questions about specific courses on the site, please find contact info on the course page.