Derrida's claim that 'without deconstruction there can be no responsible political thought' is one of his most provocative, and one that even his most vocal admirers have been reluctant to endorse fully. Deconstruction and Democracy evaluates and substantiates Derrida's assertion, assessing the importance of this eminent contemporary philosopher's work for political thought. From the early 1980s onwards, Derrida has addressed political subjects more and more explicitly; here Alex Thomson argues that the time has come for a fresh understanding of deconstruction -- one that acknowledges its relevance for, and potential contribution to, political thinking. The book provides cogent analysis and exegesis of Derrida's often rather abstruse and impenetrable political writings; explores the implications for political theory and practice of Derrida's work; and brings Derrida's work into dialogue with other major strands of contemporary political thought.
Deconstruction and Democracy is the clearest and most detailed engagement available with the politics of deconstruction, and is a major contribution to scholarship on the later work of Jacques Derrida, most notably his Politics of Friendship.
Alex Thomson is a lecturer in English at the University of Glasgow. He is the author of two forthcoming Continuum books: Adorno: A Guide for the Perplexed and Hegel and Critical Theory.
Introduction: The Political Problem of Deconstruction; Part One: Democracy and Deconstruction; 1. No Democracy Without Deconstruction? 2. Deconstruction and Liberal Democracy; 3. Deconstruction and Radical Democracy; Part Two: Deconstruction as Political Practice; 4. The Politics of Exemplarity; 5. Deconstruction in Practice I: Derrida and Heidegger; 6. Deconstruction in Practice II: Politics Beyond Politics; Part Three: Politics Against Ethics; 7. Deconstruction Against Ethics: Derrida and Levinas; 8. Against Community; Part Four: Deconstruction and Political Theory; 9. The Spectrality of Politics: Derrida and Schmitt; 10. The Politics of Spectrality; 11. Deconstruction as Political Theory