I am completely sympathetic to those whose first impulse is to close the book in disgust and chuck it across the room. The sentences In Derrida’s, ‘Structure, Signs, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences,’ become increasingly entangled, seem to lead to nowhere, and but I swear- they ultimately to add up to something rather insightful. Granted, to read Derrida, one may need a translator to get through the verbose language. It is important to note, when reading Derrida’s text, one must accept that words have meaning and that he has a purpose in mind, as much as he attempts to camouflage it using flower language and seemingly random tirades. To begin with, Derrida focuses on the ‘center’ of a structure, which controls the structure by orienting and organizing it. Derrida states that an unorganized structure is unconceivable and that a structure without a center is unthinkable. He goes on to say that the center delimits and lessens the possibility for ‘play’, or give, within the structure. Play is whatever goes against the organization and coherence of the structure. Derrida attempts to elaborate on this silliness, saying that the center of the structure must be both inside and outside the structure. It must be a part of the structure, but also independent of it, in order to control it. He goes on to meshes these ideas with that of writer Levi-Strauss. He examines various works from Strauss such as “The Savage Mind” and “The Raw and the Cooked” to draw a relation between what he calls “center”, “subject”, and “event”.
I took this as meaning the death or omission of the signifier leads to an omission of the