Philosophical and ideological traditions permeate everywhere from popular thought, culture, and subjective experience to science, literature, and politics. In past decades, critical thinkers have engaged in re-determinations and restructurings of philosophical traditions that presuppose or utilize stable, universal origin points such as Truth, Nature, Purity, or Originality to construct their arguments. Jacques Derrida and Judith Butler represent two contemporary figures that radically challenge not only the conclusions of philosophical traditions, but the workings and methods that produce their conclusions. By analyzing gestures, presuppositions, and language that discretely hierarchize sides of binary oppositions, Derrida dissects the work of philosophical traditions that favor Originality and Purity while debasing and pejoratizing imitation, repetition, and appropriation as parasitical, deformed, dangerous, and derivative. In exposing the values placed on these oppositions, Derrida attempts to reverse the traditional opposition and displace the system upon which it is built.
[...] Context” that Austin's idea of performatives and language in general not only require repetition and iterability to function, but that repetition and imitation do not distort or deform performatives or language. When Austin attempts to dismiss “nonserious” language and citation or “infelicitous” performatives, Derrida illustrates that “serious” language and “successful” performatives are part of a system that requires iteration to function, and ultimately, exist. “Could a performative utterance succeed if its formulation did not repeat a ‘coded' or iterable utterance, or in other words, if the formula I pronounce were not identifiable as conforming with an iterable model, if it were not thus identifiable in some way as ‘citation'?” (Derrida 18). [...]
[...] This does not imply that the mark is valid outside of a context, but on the contrary that there are only contexts without any center or absolute anchoring” (Derrida 12). This ability of signs to be grafted into new contexts is meaning's conditions of possibility. By requiring imitating, and repeating to function, we see that no context fully controls or determines the meaning of a sign or the success of a performative. As Jonathan Culler so aptly comments, “total context is unmasterable, both in principle and in practice. Meaning is context-bound, but context is boundless” (Culler 123). [...]
[...] Those same effects deemed “parasitic,” deformed, dangerous, or unnatural in linguistic, semiotic theory (and in many philosophical traditions) have larger effects than, as some might think, intellectual games for academics. Notions of Natural, Original, and Pure permeate throughout all of cultural which, in turn, constructs identity and perception. As Barton and Butler suggest, these very effects called “parasitic” by many can serve as a tool for “political intervention” to “transgress” repeated, reiterate, implemented, and ubiquitous “rules and social norms.” As we have seen the appearance of recognizability and identity construction through repetition, [...]
[...] While Butler's essay focuses on the production of gender specifically, we can utilize her methods and assertions to come to a broader conclusion regarding the role of repetition in identity constitution. Butler establishes the idea that gender is learned and constructed and not Original, Natural, or Pure in the introduction to her essay: this sense, gender is in no way a stable identity or locus of agency from which various acts proceed; rather, it is an identity tenuously constituted in time an identity instituted through a stylized repetition of acts. [...]
using our reader.