The freedom of the deconstructed postmodern subject

Continental Philosophy Review 35 (1):61-76 (2002)
Abstract
Poststructuralists have tried to deconstruct the subject, that is, demonstrate that it is constituted by the system of cultural and linguistic relations in which it is found. The result is that just at the moment when self-actualization seems for the first time to be politically possible for many hitherto marginalized subjects, they, and subjects more generally, appear to have been denatured – reduced to the cultural systems which are the condition of their possibility and consequently deprived of the freedom which is clearly necessary for any form of self-actualization. This paper, while acknowledging that subjects are indeed culturally and linguistically constituted, argues on the basis of a holistic, emergent property hypothesis that structure or form can generate content that nevertheless transcends the structure or form that constitutes it. On this view the subject is irreducibly transcendent to the system of relations from within which it arises, and the deconstructed subject thus remains capable of free choice and self-actualization.
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