Exemplification and deconstructive writing: Dancing with Massumi, Derrida, and others

Year: 2012

Author: Ryan, Cheryl Maree

Type of paper: Refereed paper


I am applying 'exemplification' (Massumi, 2002) and 'deconstrucitve writing' (Maclure, 2010) to data from the research for my doctoral thesis. Central to both is the power of examples to expose detail and divergence that leads to new and different possibilities and connections. I have been inspired by Derrida's (Maclure 2007; Spitzer 2011) notion of the fabric of a text with 'tears', 'cuts', 'knots or aporias'. Therefore, I have created a fabric of text with tears and aporias; one that encourages readers to think and read doubly (Derrida, cited in Spitzer 2011). I write in an 'inattentive' way (Massumi 2002): juxtaposing examples (narratives) with the identities of the narrators, my responses to their narratives, and theoretical and other musings to play with the ambiguity of reality and identity. The interplay of inattention, exemplification, and deconstructive writing allows for interpretation, reinterpretation, affective responses, and new and different impressions and possibilities. While these approaches might appear unconventional to some, I am willing to risk being perceived as silly, stupid, and/or failing in my endeavours (Massumi 2011). However, I have enjoyed 'danc[ing] with the pen' (Nietsche, cited in Derrida, 1982) and data and learning to write in an inattentive, creative, and productive way.