structuralism, Post Structuralism n Post Modernism

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  • Structuralism and Post Structuralism

  • Culture Studies and TheoryCulture studies cultural representations/artifacts, identity, social relations and negotiations for powerPower relations between classes, genders, castes, races, nations, ethnicitiesUses aspects of contemporary literary and cultural theory to analyze power and its manifestations in the cultural domain

  • StructuralismFerdinand De Sassure Swiss LinguistCourse de Linguistic Generale (1916)Translated into English - 1959Diachronic / Synchronic study Sign - signifier and signifiedA sign is not a link between a thing and a name, but between a concept and a sound pattern - Sassure

  • No inherent connection between a word and what it designates- meanings to words arbitrary maintained by conventionMeanings of words are relational Meaning attributed to the object or idea by the human mind (terrorist /freedom fighter) Langue and parole - Study of Semiotics

  • Meaning is produced through the syntagmatic and paradigmatic axis

    Syntagmatic linear combination of signs to form sentences

    Paradigmatic field of signs (i.e. synonyms) from which a given sign is selected

  • Linguistic Turn Cultural StudiesLanguage is the means and medium through which we form knowledge about ourselves and the social world.

    Language constructs the very nature of our perception of reality.

    Language gives meaning to material objects and social practices Structuralism

  • Cultural TextsAnything that generates meaning through certain forms of representation is a textCultural representations- books, music videos, television programs, sports, politicians speeches, our identities become texts constructed in language through the process of relationality and differenceA wedding or a sport becomes a text - grammar, difference and relationsLike language culture works through a system of relations and differences.

  • Claude Levi Strauss and Roland Barthes-study of myth (message) Literature, media, fashion, any social event - becomes a TextCulture made up of structural networks carries significance shown to operate in a systematic wayAny cultural act placed within a wider structure of values, beliefs key for understanding that particular culture

  • Post Structuralism Emerged in the late 1960s

    Roland Barthes and Jacques Derrida

    The Death of the author The Birth of the reader - readerly /writerly

    1966- Derrida Structure, Sign and play in the Discourse of Human Sciences

  • World is constructed through languageReality accessible only through the linguistic medium Derrida - reality itself is textual - open to varied interpretations. No ultimate meaning to a word. Meaning of a word is not only based on difference, but also on deference (respect)Verbal sign floats meanings- fluid slippage and spillage Dictionary stabilizes meanings ?

    Similar to structuralism

  • Binary oppositions one item privileged over the other man /woman , master /servant, light/dark , teacher /student

    This hierarchy can be reversed

    Cultural act structure - structure itself is not fixed subject to constant interpretations Intellectual event rupture read against the grain

  • Signifier at war with the signified

    Text - looks out for gaps ,inconsistencies varied interpretations

    A text will always have some elements which will work against it

    Deconstruction -Oppositional readings multiple meanings

    Structuralism constructs a structure - Post Structuralism deconstructs and reconstructs that structure

  • Modernism and Post Modernism Modernism cultural formations and cultural experiences of modernity -associated with the enlightenment philosophy of Rousseau, Weber, Habermas- universal truths through reasonPost Modernism Lyotard, Baudrillard, Foucault, Rorty socio- historical and linguistic specificity of truth

  • Industrial revolution - effects

    Urban population

    Universal Suffrage

    Socialism trade unions

    First and second world wars

    Great Depression 1930

    Twentieth century Socio-Political Changes

  • Modernity and the Enlightenment project Enlightenment philosophy writings of eighteenth century writers Voltaire , Rousseau, HumeEnlightenment thought marked by belief that Reason can demystify and illuminate the world against religion ,myth and superstition Dismissed religion, tradition & emotionStressed on science & rationality

  • Modernity associated with the emancipatory project enlightenment reason lead to universal truths foundation for humanitys forward path of progress Enlightenment philosophy and the theoretical discourses of modernity championed reason source of progress in knowledge and society.

  • The Institutions of ModernityIndustrialism - the transformation of nature ; development of created environment simple family-centered labor to strict impersonal division of labor alterations in working habits- time organization family life leisure activity- women workers change in gender roles- shift from rural to urban living


  • The Institutions of ModernitySurveillance control of information and social supervision - division of labor, supervision of activities, consolidation of hierarchy Capitalism Industrial organization of modernity organized along capitalist lines- capital accumulation - cheap labor new markets new sources of profit globalization world economic order


  • The Institutions of ModernityThe Nation- state and military power nation state is a relatively recent modern contrivance layman did not participate in the consolidation of the nation- state container of power constituted by political apparatus State military power Political ambition Emotional investments in national identity4

  • Modernism and Culture Modernism human cultural forms bound up with modernizationTradition values stability and fixed nature of values ,lifestyle ,idenitityModernity is premised on perpetual revision of knowledge change of values , idenitity a process

  • Characteristics of ModernismThe promise of technological and social progress

    Replacement of old traditions with new ones

    Urban development

    The unfolding of the self- no specific identity

  • Rejection of established forms

    Radical experimentation with new forms

    Arts, architecture , literature

    Avant-garde (innovative) literature

    Fragmentary forms, Discontinued narration Aesthetics of Modernism

  • Prose written like a poem novel written like a poem poem free verse - haiku poems Sentences plucked from newspapersRejection of chronological plots, closed endingsWar literature ravages of war Existentialism introspection of selfNihilism-sense of nothingness and extreme despair All these were expressed in art & literature Absurd theatre Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter , - Waiting for Godot meaningless dialogues, no linearity of plot, cyclic plot

  • Russian Formalism- Practical Criticism (England) New criticism (America) 1920s I.A.Richards, William Empson,

    Concentrate on the words of the page

    Close reading of the textClinical isolation from historical processes, social or economic condition

    Literary Criticism

  • Critique of Modernism/Enlightenment projectThe idea of universal truth impossible Nietzsche reason and truth only interpretations consequence of power whose interpretation count as truth Foucault exploration of historical conditions in which knowledge of a certain field is constructed discourse discontinuous ruptures in the historical understanding of madness, sexuality -examines prisons, schools, hospitals - operations of power and discipline

  • Modernism faded in the 1930sIn the 1960s resurgence Post modernism Innovation in arts , architecture, literatureModernism tone of lament, pessimism despairPost modernist liberating phenomenon, escape from fixed systems of beliefHabermas, Lyotard,Baudrillard POST MODERNISM

  • Habermas- public sphere, supported intellectuals, project enlightenmentLyotard-in 1982-wrote fiercely against Habermas Enlightenment ProjectJean Baudrillard- distinction btw real and unreal is diminished on-screen with the advent of TV, internet, etc. This is called hyper-reality Book-Simulacra-Simulations

  • Against traditional authority- power /culture/education/morals/religionNo absolute truth- truth is provisional facts/falsehoodNo grand narrative pluralistic societyA pluralistic society is one which thrives on the theory that reality consists of two or more elements. Pluralists believe that various religious, cultural, social and racial groups should be allowed to thrive in a single society together.Against social constructivism. eg. Men cant cry, women cant be aggressive, etcAgainst national borders - globalization

    Post Modernism Cultural Movement

  • Louis Rosenblatt- The Reader, the Text ,the Poem Transactional reading( 1978)David Bleich Subjective Criticism (1978) NegotiationsStanley Fish Is there a Text in this class? The authority of Interpretive communities(1980)Subjective /subject position -Experiences-perceptions more informed, more richerReader Response theory

  • Beginnings 1970sOur individual selfhood, gender, notion of literature are all socially constructedAnti essentialist no fixed and reliable truthThinking and investigation are largely dependent on the ideology of the readerInterpreting a text - Subjectivity and subject positions of the