Ferdinand de Saussure's Structuralism

Topics: Linguistics, Structuralism, Ferdinand de Saussure Pages: 4 (899 words) Published: October 15, 2008
STRUCTURALISM

- A theoretical method which is analytical not evaluative. - A way of approaching texts and practices derived from Ferdinand de Saussure.

Exponents of Structuralism include:

|Name |Field | |Claude Lévi Strauss |Anthropology | |Roland Barthes |Literary and Cultural Studies | |Michel Foucault |Philosophy and History | |Jacques Lacan |Psychoanalysis | |Louis Althusser |Marxist Theory |

Introduction: Structuralist criticism designates the practice of critics who analyse literature on the explicit model of modern linguistic theory. It includes Russian Formalists (Roman Jakobson) and Paris-based writers who apply to literature the concept of the French linguist Ferdinand de Saussure (1915). This is part of a larger movement called French Structuralism (1950s) inaugurated by Claude Lévi Strauss. Saussure was profoundly uncomfortable with traditional linguistics.

Structuralism was a departure from humanistic criticism.
1) Literary ‘work’ becomes a ‘text’ (constituted by a play of component elements according to specifically literary contents and codes) which has no truth value: a) Language does not mirror reality.

b) Language is not unchanging.
c) Written language is not superior to oral language.
2) The author is regarded as a construct – allowed no initiative or expressive...
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