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Modernity and Postmodernity

4. Jacques Derrida and Deconstruction

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About this Lecture


In this lecture, we think about Jacques Derrida and the method of deconstruction, focusing in particular on: (i) Derrida’s writing on gender difference, notably his work on Jean-Jacques Rousseau and his claim that Rousseau was responsible for the myth of natural distinction between men and women; (ii) his argument that myths of natural order are invoked to legitimise inequality, and that society is structured to reinforce these myths; (iii) the method of deconstruction, which challenges claims that features of social life are based on nature and exposes them as actually being social constructions.


In this course, Dr Ross Abbinnett (University of Birmingham) explores notions of modernity and postmodernity in sociological theory. In the first lecture, we consider the meaning of modernity and its characteristics. In the second lecture, we look at Jean-François Lyotard’s writing on the postmodern condition, in which common understandings of the world are fractured and society is disunited. In the third lecture, we look at Jean Baudrillard’s work on the mass media, and his ideas of simulation and hyperreality as features of postmodernity. Next, we think about Jacques Derrida’s method of deconstruction. In the fifth and final lecture, we look at how these ideas might be relevant to contemporary society.


Dr Ross Abbinnett is Senior Lecturer in Social and Political Theory at the University of Birmingham. His recent publications include The Neoliberal Imagination: Politics, Aesthetics, and Economics in the Evolution of Hyper-Industrial Capitalism (2021), The Thought of Bernard Stiegler: Capitalism, Technology and the Politics of Spirit (2018) and Marxism After Modernity: Politics, Technology and Social Transformation (2006).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Abbinnett, R. (2021, August 24). Modernity and Postmodernity - Jacques Derrida and Deconstruction [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Abbinnett, R. "Modernity and Postmodernity – Jacques Derrida and Deconstruction." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 24 Aug 2021,

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