Power, "Text," And Public Policy: The Political Implications Of Jacques Derrida's Deconstructive Method

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Andrew M Koch Ph.D., Professor (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: https://library.appstate.edu/

Abstract: This paper seeks to clarify the distinction between positivist/scientific and interpretive approaches to public policy using the critical framework of Jacques Derrida. Derrida's deconstructive method helps to clarify the relationship among state power, public policy, and the cultural "text" of "subjectivity." It is asserted that the positivistic approaches to policy formation rely on a representation of subjectivity that does not contain sufficient epistemological validity to stand as a foundation for the imposition of norms and values through policy process. This approach to public policy extends, or seeks to extend, the normative grammar that is contained in the dominant discourse through the establishment of a system of rewards and punishments for behavior that conforms, or fails to conform, to that grammar. Public policy, therefore, initiates pressure toward uniformity in the content of "subjectivity." Derrida's deconstructive methodology shows the often hidden ideological content in public discourse, raising questions about the imposition of any fixed definition of subjectivity through public policy. Following Derrida, policy must be more open to a plurality of different modes of existence that can be accommodated by a positivistic approach.

Additional Information

Koch, Andrew M. "Power, "Text," and Public Policy: The Political Implications of Jacques Derrida's Deconstructive Method” The Southeastern Political Review, 26(1) 155-179. March 1998 DOI: 10.1111/j.1747-1346.1998.tb00475.x Version of record (Wiley-Blackwell) at http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/
Language: English
Date: 1998
Jacques Derrida, Deconstruction, Public Policy

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