Deconstruction, Its Force, Its Violence

together with "Have We Done with the Empire of Judgment?"

By Rodolphe Gasché

Subjects: Continental Philosophy, Philosophy, Literary Theory
Series: SUNY series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy
Paperback : 9781438460000, 144 pages, July 2016
Hardcover : 9781438460017, 144 pages, January 2016

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Table of contents


1. The Force of Deconstruction

2. The Possibility of Deconstruction

3. The ‘Violence’ of Deconstruction

Have We Done with the Empire of Judgment?


A reappraisal of deconstruction from one of its leading commentators, focusing on the themes of force and violence.


In this book, Rodolphe Gasché returns to some of the founding texts of deconstruction to propose a new and broader way of understanding it—not as an operation or method to reach an elusive outside, or beyond, of metaphysics, but as something that takes place within it. Rather than unraveling metaphysics, deconstruction loosens its binary and hierarchical conceptual structure. To make this case, Gasché focuses on the concepts of force and violence in the work of Jacques Derrida, looking to his essays "Force and Signification" and "Force of Law," and his reading on Of Grammatology in Claude Lévi-Strauss's autobiographical Tristes Tropiques. The concept of force has not drawn extensive scrutiny in Derrida scholarship, but it is crucial to understanding how, by way of spacing and temporizing, philosophical opposition is reinscribed into a differential economy of forces. Gasché concludes with an essay addressing the question of deconstruction and judgment and considers whether deconstruction suspends the possibility of judgment, or whether it is, on the contrary, a hyperbolic demand for judgment.

Rodolphe Gasché is SUNY Distinguished Professor and Eugenio Donato Professor of Comparative Literature at University at Buffalo, State University of New York. His many books include Views and Interviews: On "Deconstruction" in America and Europe, or the Infinite Task: A Study of a Philosophical Concept.


"…Gasché's book is an erudite and insightful yet accessible and clear accompaniment to some of the key juridical themes in Derrida's work. This work represents a valuable commentary, particularly for legal scholars, on Derrida's intricate deconstructive thought. " — Law, Culture and the Humanities

"Gasché's work is timely given the fast-approaching 50th anniversary of Derrida's seminal year, 1967 … Derrida scholars, especially those familiar with his earliest works from the 1960s, will warmly welcome this little book. " — CHOICE