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Phallogocentrism

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In critical theory and deconstruction, phallogocentrism (or, originally and more narrowly, logocentrism) is a neologism coined by Jacques Derrida, which refers to the perceived tendency of Western thought to locate the center of any text or discourse within the logos (a Greek word meaning word, reason, or spirit) and the phallus (a represention of the male genitalia).

It is also the tendential privileging of the signified over the signifier, asserting the signified's status as more natural or pure. This is manifested in the works of Plato, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Ferdinand de Saussure and Claude Lévi-Strauss in a privileging of speech over writing, writing being seen as the supplementary "bastard-child" of speech.

Logocentrism deals with Western Philosophy's preoccupation with truth, reason and the word. And a belief that this gives us access to what is behind reality. It also identifies the way in which human thought often operates in binaries such as man/woman, reality/appearance, presence/absence, heterosexual/homosexual, literal/metaphorical, transcendental/empirical, or signified/signifier. These binaries are also explored by the French theorist Hélène Cixous.

An integral part of this is Phonocentrism, which is the prioritising of speech over writing. This is explored in Derrida's analysis of The Phaedrus (by Plato) in his essay "Plato's Pharmacy".

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