To read the hidden (occult) contradictions of a text against its own stated purpose; deconstruction aims to explode reflexivity as handed down by constructs of thought transmitted by Western Tradition. Seen in action (if you call this action...) in the work of Jacques Derrida(Of Grammatology, Glas or Truth in Painting) :

Differance is therefore the formation of form. But it is on the other hand the being-imprinted of the imprint. (from Of Grammatology, ch. 2) {...sure, JD, what-the-hell-ever...}

-Either/Or-

an anti-rationalist move in post-modern analysis exploiting alternative modes of logic and defying the structuralist drive to textualize reality. Seeks to rehabilitate the Sign or surface; in essence, to make myth legitimate by decentering all assumption and identity. In other words, throw everything off balance: see Gilles Deluze's work Anti-Oedipus : capitalism and schizophrenia :

Everybody is in too many pieces : No mans land surrounds our desires : To crack the shell we mix with others : Some lie in the arms of lovers . . . : We live as we dream, alone : The space between our work and its product : Some fall into fatalism : As if it started this way : We live as we dream, alone (fr. Milles Plateaux, sec.XV)

-Either/Or-

simply succumbing to the temptation to 'pastiche' critique, i.e. pull apart or take the piss out of the assumptions of an argument using multiple methodologies, interpretations, parallelisms, quotations and allusions (which may or may not lead to any internal consistency, but who cares really?). Best seen in the work of Roland Barthes (S/Z, Mythologies).
To give a text an Author is to impose a limit on that text, to furnish it with a final signified, to close the writing by refusing to assign a 'secret,' an ultimate meaning, to the text (and the world as text), liberates what may be called an anti theological activity, an activity that is truly revolutionary since to refuse to fix meaning is, in the end, to refuse God and his hypostases--reason, science, law. (fr. Death of the Author)

Suggested readings

  • Driftworks / Jean-Fran├žois Lyotard. (NY : Semiotext(e), Inc., c1984)
  • On deconstruction : theory and criticism after structuralism / Jonathan Culler. (Ithaca, N.Y. : Cornell, 1982.)