chapter  1
24 Pages

: Deconstruction’s Other

In thinking about the difference between deconstruction and cultural studies, one often runs into the question of there being an antagonism between the two. The familiar reproach to deconstruction’s lack of a coherent political agenda, let alone the pragmatic means to carry such an agenda out, was well established by the late 1980s and had as one of its sources the acrimonious debate in Positions between Jacques Derrida and two Marxists closely associated with the Tel Quel group-Guy Scarpetta and Jean-Louis Houdebine. Alternatively, critics influenced by deconstruction had taken a dim view of the then relatively recent infatuation with identity politics and the return to agency, seeing it as a backslide into what Derrida during the 1960s called “anthropologism.” At around this time, Trinh T. Minh-ha published Woman, Native, Other (1989) which raised precisely this kind of confrontation. What will concern us, however, is not so much the outright political clash between mutually opposed positions, but another notion of antagonism discussed in Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe in Hegemony and Socialist Strategy.