Post-structuralism in France

Barthes was a prominent post-structuralist who believed that there are two orders of signification: iconic and connotative. According to him,

Post-structuralism in France


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The Ministry of Education of Republic of BelarusKupala State University of Grodnofacultyand cross-cultural communication department







structuralism in France






student of the philological faculty,

th year, group 493,Raiko












.1 The emergence of post-structuralism

.2 The meaning of post-structuralism

.3 Theoretical differences between structuralism and post-structuralism2 MAJOR WORKS AND CONCEPTS OF POST-STRUCTURALISM

.1 Derridas Deconstruction

.2 Roland Barthes - The Death of the Author

.3 Michel Foucault and post-structuralism





The end of the late 1960s was the period of disappointment, liberation and political anxiety in France. At this time a new philosophical movement emerged in French intellectual circles. It was post-structuralism. Post-structuralism originated as a reaction against structuralism. It generates the view that there is no system as a whole. Post-structuralism is a practice of critical analysis. It focuses on the peculiar uncertainty in our various systems of expression, beginning with language. In the post-structuralist approach to textual analysis, the reader replaces the author as the primary subject of inquiry and, without a central fixation on the author, post-structuralists examine other sources for meaning (readers, cultural norms, other literature, etc.), which are therefore never authoritative, and promise no consistency.aim of the essay is to discover the meaning and the main concepts of the aim, the essay has the following tasks:

)to find out what post-structuralism is;

2)to describe the peculiarities of post-structuralism;

)to compare post-structuralism with structuralism;

)to study the key figures of post-structuralism and their theories.

The object of the essay is the post-structuralist movement in France.subject of the essay is the peculiarities of post-structuralism.following methods of research were used in the essay: the method of comparison, the method of analysis, the method of information classification and systematization, the inductive method, the method of text interpretation.essay consists of introduction, two chapters, conclusion and bibliography. In the first chapter we get information about the emergence, meaning and peculiarities of post-structuralism. Besides, some theoretical differences between post-structuralism and structuralism become clear. In the second chapter we pay attention to the key figures of post-structuralism and the main concepts of their theories.





1.1 The emergence of post-structuralism


Post-structuralism is a late-twentieth-century development in philosophy and literary theory, particularly associated with the work of Jacques Derrida and his followers. It originated as a reaction against structuralism, which first emerged in Ferdinand de Saussures work on linguistics. By the 1950s structuralism had been adapted in anthropology (Lévi-Strauss), psychoanalysis (Lacan) and literary theory (Barthes), and there were hopes that it could provide the framework for rigorous accounts in all areas of the human sciences [3, p.828].structuralism emerged in France during the 1960s as an antinomian movement critiquing structuralism. The period was marked by political anxiety, as students and workers alike rebelled against the state in May 1968, nearly causing the downfall of the French government. At the same time, however, the support of the French Communist Party (FCP) for the oppressive policies of the USSR contributed to popular disillusionment with orthodox Marxism. As a result, there was increased interest in alternative radical philosophies, including feminism, western Marxism, anarchism, phenomenology, and nihilism. These disparate perspectives were all linked by being critical of dominant Western philosophy and culture. Post-structuralism offered a means of justifying these criticisms, by exposing the underlying assumptions of many Western norms [11].for the emergence of post-structuralism was, undoubtedly, the rediscovery of Nietzsches writings by a group of French thinkers, along with their structuralist readings of Freud and Marx. Where Marx was seen to play out the theme of power in his work, and Freud gave a conceptual priority to the notion of desire, Nietzsche was read as a philosopher who did not prioritize or subordinate one concept over the other. His philosophy offered a way forward that combined an examination of both power and desire.s philosophy offered a critique of truth and an emphasis upon the plurality of interpretation; it stressed the idea of style and the way in which style is central both philosophically and aesthetically in overcoming oneself in a process of perpetual self-becoming; and it emphasized relations of power and knowledge through the concept of the will to power and its manifestations as will to truth and will to knowledge. The French post-structuralist adopted these themes experimented with them in novel ways [10, p.18].key figures in the early post-structuralist movement were Jacques Derrida and Roland Barthes. Although Barthes was originally a structuralist, during the 1960s he increasingly favored post-structuralist views. In 1968, Barthes published The Death of the Author in which he announced a metaphorical event: the death of the author as an authentic source of meaning for a given text. Barthes argued that any literary text has multiple meanings, and that the author was not the prime source of the work's semantic content. The Death of the Author, Barthes maintained, was the Birth of the Reader, as the source of the proliferation of meanings of the text.

The second key figure in the development of post-structuralism in the late 1960s is the philosopher Jacques Derrida. Indeed, the starting point of post-structuralism may be taken as his 1966 lecture Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences. In this paper Derrida sees in modern times a particular intellectual even which constitutes a radical break from past ways of thought, loosely associating this break with the philosophy of Nietzsche and Heidegger and the psychoanalysis of Freud. The event concerns the decentring of our intellectual universe. Prior to this event the existence of a norm or centre in all things was taken for granted: thus man, as the Renaissance slogan had it, was the measure of all other things in the universe: white Western norms of dress, behaviour, architecture, intellectual outlook, and so on, provided a firm centre against which deviations, aberrations, variations could be detected and identified as Other and marginal. In the twentieth century, however, these centres were destroyed or eroded; sometimes this was caused by historical events - such as the way the First World War destroyed the illusion of steady material progress, or the way the Holocaust destroyed the notion of Europe as the source and centre of human civilisation; sometimes it happened because of scientific discoveries - such as the way the notion of relativity destroyed the ideas of time and space as fixed and central absolutes; and sometimes, finally, it was caused by intellectual or artistic revolutions - such as the way modernism in the arts in the first thirty years of the century rejected such central absolutes as harmony in music, chronological sequence in narrative, and the representation of the visual world in art [1, p.64].the resulting universe there are no absolutes or fixed points, so that the universe we live in is decentred or inherently relativistic. Instead of movement or deviation from a known centre, all we have is play. In the lecture Derrida embraces this decentred universe of free play as liberating, just as Barthes in The Death of the Author celebrates the demise of the author as ushering in an era of joyous freedom. The consequences of this new decentred universe are impossible to predict, but we must endeavour not to be among those who ... turn their eyes away in the face of the as yet unnameable which is proclaiming itself [8, p.154]. This powerful, quasi-religious appeal to us not to turn our eyes away from the light is typical of the often apocalyptic tone of post-structuralist writing. If we have the courage, the implication is, we will enter this new Nietzschean universe, where there are no guaranteed facts, only interpretations, none of which has the stamp of authority upon it, since there is no longer any authorative centre to which to appeal for validation of our intepretations [1, p.64].

In a 1976 lecture series, Foucault briefly summarized the general impetus of the post-structuralist movement:

...For the last ten or fifteen years, the immense and proliferating criticizability of things, institutions, practices, and discourses; a sort of general feeling that the ground was crumbling beneath our feet, especially in places where it seemed most familiar, most solid, and closest to us, to our bodies, to our everyday gestures. But alongside this crumbling and the astonishing efficacy of discontinuous, particular, and local critiques, the facts were also revealing something... beneath this whole thematic, through it and even within it, we have see

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