The Impossible Decision: Social Tagging and Derrida’s Deconstructed Hospitality

Melodie Fox, Austin Reece


Social tagging has been lauded for providing a voice of the user community, free of restrictions dictated by knowledge organization standards for subject access. Tagging allows many perspectives to be represented, but at what cost? Using deconstruction, Derrida argues that absolute hospitality is required to ensure justice for access and inclusiveness; however, the consequence becomes that the host becomes hostage to the other. In this ongoing research, we explore the Derridean concept of hospitality as it relates to social tagging, examining the consequences of unconditional inclusiveness, the process of discerning constraints to hospitality in order to interpret different kinds of "otherness"—or what Derrida (2000, 75) calls the "impossible" decision—and what mitigation means, using the social tagging environment to illustrate.

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