Deconstructing Sport: When Philosophy and Education Meet in Derrida's Thought
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Jacques Derrida (1930-2004), master of the deconstructionist method and recognized as one of the greatest thinkers of our time, was in his youth, before beginning his career as a philosopher, a footballer who played this game with the Italian prisoners in Algiers, his birthplace, during World War II. In a 1991 interview, when he was 60, Derrida narrated in detail his childhood dream of becoming a professional football player, confiding that all of his philosophy and thought had been inspired by sport and the game of football. Starting from this biographical note, the aim of my study is to demonstrate, first of all, how Derrida's whole philosophy and technique of deconstruction really has its roots in the concept of sport. The French-Algerian philosopher understood sport as a cultural structure based on the concepts of play, game, body, rules, and all of the oppositional pairs deriving from différance and from the tensions it generates. Secondly, the study tries to show how sport is for Derrida a metaphor of life and its meaning, suspended between being and nothingness; a place and a field in which human beings act, learn and educate themselves, deconstructing, as in a text, the values and prejudices of their lives and understanding, through sport itself, their roles and responsibility toward themselves and the community in which they live.
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