Deconstruction and postmodernity

27 Feb

The idea of ​​deconstructing narrative, although it has foundations in Derridá, is linked to theaDesconstrução2 British historian Alun Munslow, his analysis of the main trends present in contemporary historiography, has a “deconstructionist” perspective linked to the British thinking of Hayden White and Keith Jenkins, and maintains with this magazine Rethinking History.
These texts have a more Anglo-Saxon perspective on postmodern and postmodernist historiography, their main contribution here, since the rest is linked to the view of “human sciences” from the Anglo-Saxon viewpoint, which could be understood as “humanities” since it is vis-à-vis the natural, dating from this the early works of modernity with  Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) and John Locke (1632-1704), albeit implicit.
It is in this sense that ‘postmodernism’, as Munslow sees, approaches nihilism by thinking that there is no possibility of ‘single truth’, since it can not be constructed, created or even imagined, in which we see the principle of thinking about the “natural” in Locke and Hobbes.
In Munslow’s perspective, the structuralist literary criticism isolated the context text to try to understand the meaning (the concept that a certain word represents) without considering the signifier itself (the word), so there are limitations of understanding the language as understanding of the text: “critical literary structure isolates the text from the context to understand the meaning of its statements in relation to other utterances present in the text itself, so it is necessary to “accept the elusive nature of the text as full of gaps, silences and uncertainties of meanings – open and full of significant – suggests that the historical interpretation of texts, as well as literary criticism, are necessarily indeterminate and their readings more or less inadequate. This does not mean, of course, that every reading is as good as any; this simply means that there are no definitive interpretations. “(Munson, 2009, p.
And historians are not out of this perspective, says Munslow, so the truths do not exist, they are cultural constructions of each time and space, permeated by interests of all kinds, related to the games of power (domination, negotiation and resistance) particular to each society, but this does not prevent: “that people (including historians) seek meaning for the everyday world, even if the signs are arbitrary” (Munslow, 2009: 46).

Thus, narrative constructions would be impositions made for many reasons: explanatory, political, ideological, and, Hayden White in his Metahistory, elaborates an explanation of the explanations made by 19th century historians on the set of linguistic resources (as metaphors) to frame their stories the literary genres: romantic, tragic, comic or satirical.

As part of his perspective the postmodernist as seen by Munslow is a continuity of modernity, almost a consequence of it, while postmodernity is indeed the novelty, between them there is the question of consciousness history, but not Dilthey’s romantic consciousness.
MUNSLOW, Alun. Deconstructing history. Petrópolis, RJ: Vozes, 2009.
WHITE, Hayden. Metahistory: the historical imagination of the nineteenth century. São Paulo: Edusp, 1995.

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