poststructuralism

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poststructuralism:

see deconstructiondeconstruction,
in linguistics, philosophy, and literary theory, the exposure and undermining of the metaphysical assumptions involved in systematic attempts to ground knowledge, especially in academic disciplines such as structuralism and semiotics.
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poststructuralism

a widely influential intellectual movement in France from the 1960s onwards, deriving from STRUCTURALISM but reinterpreting the latter's main assumptions about LANGUAGE and society as signifying systems. As such, poststructuralists utilized while also challenging the ascendancy of key structuralist theorists including SAUSSURE and LÉVI-STRAUSS. In the course of a root-and-branch questioning of traditional modes of philosophical and linguistic theorizing, they also challenged other major social theories, notably MARXISM. The major theorists most usually associated with poststructuralism are DERRIDA and FOUCAULT (see also LACAN). Central aspects of previous linguistic theory ‘deconstructured’ by poststructuralism, especially by Derrida, include:
  1. a questioning of the implications of linguistic conceptions of DIFFERENCE, seen especially in Derrida's challenge to what he regards as SAUSSURE's still ‘metaphysical’ presuppositions about the SUBJECT and LANGUAGE, the priority given to speech‘ over ‘writing’ – see DECONSTRUCTION;
  2. a view that writing, too (see TEXTS), is also questionable as a source of any ‘grounding’ for objectivity or culture, the major reason for this being that, in addition to the ‘arbitrary’ connection between SIGNIFIER AND SIGNIFIED (as for Saussure), the relation between signifiers (via ‘differences’) is equally suspect, given that signifiers are always 'slipping under other signifiers‘, with no final definition possible.
References in periodicals archive ?
In the discussion that follows discourse analysis will be introduced as a Poststructuralist and Social Constructionist "approach" to educational research.
In this sense, the poststructuralist deferral of meaning from one signifier to another, a deferral never reaching the signified (reality), takes on for Barthes the same nihilistic overtones Kimball ascribes to it.
One of the aims of our roundtable, "Restoring Feminist Politics to Poststructuralist Critique," is to displace the old but tenacious debate that poses feminist politics against the critique of identity.
Corlett's sensibility is broadly deconstructionist, and he often draws his insights from what have become commonplaces of poststructuralist theory, but the scrupulousness and specificity of his argument, no less his commitment to and knowledge of Marxist theory, mean that Class Action is mercifully free of the generalities and liberties that so often mark comparative studies of these two approaches.
French poststructuralist Roland Barthes is typical.
They astutely recognise the role of normative theory in both social policy and poststructuralist analysis, suggesting that `it both exaggerates the extent to which established social policy texts set out to promulgate a particular normative perspective and masks the normativity invested in poststructuralist accounts.
This last essay leads us to what could be seen as the book's most important contribution: in putting together these essays, Pratt and Newman gather Franco's legacy of poststructuralist criticism for new generations of critics.
Though "difference" is endlessly celebrated in feminist/radical poststructuralist circles, there are strong pressures against intellectual difference - generally unspoken, but nevertheless intense and usually effective.
To wit, Jacques Derrida's notorious defense of his poststructuralist colleague Paul de Man, who, as a literature professor at Yale, helped popularize &construction.
Saussure does merit rereading, particularly for the deviations from poststructuralist orthodoxy, yet he is no longer the prime suspect as far as the crimes of Theory are concerned.
It seems that at least on certain occasions, "texts" and material "contexts" can be distinguished from one another, even in the allegedly irreducible textuality of the poststructuralist porridge.
The publication of this volume in 1981 coincides with the heyday of poststructuralist literary criticism, whose "historical nihilism," as Templeton calls it (8), enjoyed even more influence than Fox-Genovese grants postmodern feminism.