The Use of Deconstruction in Public Policy Formation Essay

The Use of Deconstruction in Public Policy Formation Essay

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Deconstruction is a poststructural theory that has been applied with good results to such areas as Anthropology, Architecture, Critical Legal Studies, Graphic Design, and Literary Criticism. Our purpose is to introduce it into the practice of consulting in general, and public policy formation in particular. Several features of the recent work of Jacques Derrida (the Philosopher responsible for deconstruction) are relevant to our design of a Problem Tour.

A deconstructive approach to problem solving puts in question the concept of "problem" and the notion of "solution."

"Problema can signify projection or protection, that which one poses or throws in front of oneself, either as the projection of a project, of a task to accomplish, or as the protection created by a substitute, a prosthesis that we put forth in order to represent, replace, shelter, or dissimulate ourselves, or so as to hide something unavowable--like a shield (problema also means shield, clothing as barrier or guard-barrier) behind which one guards oneself in secret or in shelter in case of danger. Every border is problematic in these two senses" (Derrida, 1993: 11-12).

An allegorical definition of the effect of problem as shield is the scene in which the ghost of Hamlet's father, a "revenant," appears in full armor on the ramparts of Elsinor. The definition involves the fusion of a series of terms: advice, advise, adviser, advisory, visor. "To feel ourselves seen by a look which it will always be impossible to cross, that is the visor effect on the basis of which we inherit from the law. Since we do not see the one who sees us, and who makes the law, who delivers the injunction; since we do not see the one who orders 'swear,' we cannot identify i...

... middle of paper ...

...ames the essence of tragedy. This dynamic continues today, and is the reason for the "urgency" of the emerAgency.


Benitez-Rojo, Antonio (1996), THE REPEATING ISLAND: THE CARIBBEAN AND THE POSTMODERN PERSPECTIVE, 2nd Ed., Trans. James E. Maraniss (Duke).

Derrida, Jacques (1993), APORIAS, trans. Thomas Dutoit (Stanford).


____________ (1997), POLITICS OF FRIENDSHIP, trans. George Collins (Verso).



Ventura, Michael, "Hear That Long Snake Moan," in SHADOW DANCING IN THE USA (Tarcher, 1985).

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