Saturday, June 23, 2018

Structuralism and Post-structuralism


Structuralism is the idea which helps to understand the life of humans basically it rejects the existence of human life. Structuralism developed in early 1900 Europe, in the structural linguistics by Ferdinand de Saussure. It implies on the fields of anthropology, sociology, economics and literary criticism.

Structuralism in Literary Theory and Criticism  

The impact of language-based theories was felt in Western criticism, of which English criticism became a part, in a big way in the nineteen sixties. Use "Western criticism" deliberately here because as far as I see it, English criticism from the nineteen sixties onwards did not remain confined to considerations of English or American writing. Instead, it took influences from trends in European thought and also started relating English writing to literatures of other countries. In this sense, English criticism liberated itself from narrow British cultural interests and reflected trends of a relatively globalized world.
The literature came to be analyzed mainly in terms of language - words, phrases, interconnection between words, and so on. Old grammar (devoted to the study of nouns, pronouns, adjectives, etc. that had a specific place in the English sentence) were discarded in preference to what was called structures. This denoted that words did not stand for anything static and fixed as was supposed to be the case but operated through structures that helped in constructing meaning in a new life-situation.
Structuralism and Post-structuralism, literary theory, Western criticism,Roland Barthes, Jacques Lacan, english literature, ugc net english notes, myexamsolution

Kinds of Structuralism

In a sense, structuralism of this kind had its origins in the modernist concern for the work which pushed the writer to the background and expected the reader to take an alert interest in the work as a composition. But in a more significant sense, structuralism emphasized the existence of a full-fledged system under which meaning could be visualized as constructed. This also necessitated on the part of the reader an effort to grasp the rules of the system which governed the composition of a work, and its recomposition or reconstruction by the same reader. Another way of saying the same thing was that both writer and reader operated under a language system which had independent rules of its own and whose existence had a materiality and solidity. This changed the entire hitherto existing perception of literature and drew it out of the domain of the writer's life, a narrow subjectivist field of limited interests. Here, mark the modernist existentialist definition of this narrow subjectivist field which was impervious to any outside influence and whose individuality was not open to any outside rational interpretation or theorization. Structuralism dealt a lasting blow to this existentialist view of literature and placed literary writing face to face with a language system that provided codes for the decipherment of its meaning.
A new and exciting system of linguistic governance, structuralism also let the reader into the nature of change where old structures struggled among themselves and with the writer to compose and formulate a new meaning. In this struggle, the writer ceased to be the sole arbiter of meaning and lost his/her subjectivity to the existing determining codes. Because of further developments in theory, today we End structuralism of this kind and variety rather primitive and almost exclusively language-centered. This was soon realized as critics and analysts debated the useless of this new approach to questions of culture, art and ideology.


Post-structuralism found literature to be deeper and richer than the structuralist theory suggested. Structures functioned more clearly in the realm of culture and ideology where certain thoughts and feelings appeared taboo since they challenged the very rationale of prevailing notions.
In this given scenario, linguistic structures formed only one of the many circles which interacted with one another and, therefore, made the game of decipherment of meaning still more complex. This necessitated the study of literary works in more precise terms for reasons of identifying structures of feelings and emotions embedded in them.
Post-structuralism also sought to contend with the issue of determinism according to which the writer or reader operated in a rigid framework, watching passively the interplay of structures as texts unfolded the drama of conflicts and antagonisms.

Post-Structuralism in Literary Theory and Criticism  

In this sense, post-structuralism became self- reflexive and uncertain. Aware of its pitfalls and inadequacies, post-structuralism became open-ended so as to make way for other approaches to enter the field. One can see the working of a hidden politics behind structuralism and post-structuralism which actively blocked the writer’s pursuit of change in the social arena. It separating the writer from the work, this kind of task already begun by modernism and these theories focused on the individual writing in separation from a larger trend, in culture or politics.

There is no doubt that they succeeded quite substantially in taking literary writing out of the socio-ideological domain that revolved around a profit-oriented market. Clearly see most discussions on literature taking place not in the open, not in magazines, journals or newspapers or conferences joined  by general readers but in specialized academic circles. Books by virtue of the esoteric nature of their content, can only be understood by a minority of 'critically equipped' people. A background for what happened in the subsequent period in the realm of criticism.
The writers Roland Barthes, Jacques Lacan, Julia Kristeva and Michel Foucault were occupied the post-structuralism. Basically it simply connect with the idea of “Truth” and “reality”.

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