[A term coined by the French critic Jacques Derrida (1930-2004).]

  1. (aesthetics) A late 20th-century theory of literature that concentrates on finding "ruptures" or inconsistencies in a text, thus enabling the critic to break down or "deconstruct" it. Such deconstruction consists of asserting a personally or communally relative interpretation (usually focused on power relations or class conflict in society) without claiming that any text or interpretation has objective truth or meaning. Deconstructionism is a specific kind of postmodernism, and leans heavily toward subjectivism or even nihilism.

The Ism Book by Peter Saint-Andre

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