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Derrida and Political Resistance: The Radical Potential of Deconstruction

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-24
Number of pages18
Issue number1
Early online date3 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2015


King's Authors


This paper begins from the claim that the currently dominant approaches to the study of political resistance in global politics, namely the (Neo-)Gramscian and Foucauldian traditions, suffer from a common problem in that the forms of resistance they conceptualise are highly susceptible to appropriation by, or reinscription within, prevailing forms of global ordering. In an attempt to respond to this shortcoming, or, more properly, to explore how this reinscription of resistance might itself be resisted, the paper offers an account of political resistance developed using the thought of Jacques Derrida. Having established the parallel between the way in which prevailing relations of sovereign power and governmental ordering all too quickly co-opt and engulf resistance, and the way in which metaphysics calls thought back to order and tends towards onto-political totalisation, it is argued that by means of a deconstructive approach, acts of resistance may be further radicalised by adding to them second- and third-order onto-political critiques—namely of the resistance-act itself and the agent or actor of resistance herself. The core claim made is that inasmuch as deconstruction attempts to interrupt forms of thinking and knowing right up to and including processes of conscious and unconscious subjectification, it can provide valuable means by which the micro-gestures of onto-politics can be resisted at the (fundamentally interrelated) levels of political thought and concrete praxis.

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