post-structuralism

heterogeneous works of a series of mid-20th-century French and continental philosophers and critical theorists

Post-structuralism, sometimes referred as the French theory, is associated with the works of a series of mid-20th-century French continental philosophers and critical theorists who came to international prominence in the 1960s and 1970s. The term is defined by its relationship to the system before it—structuralism (an intellectual movement developed in Europe from the early to mid-20th century). Structuralism proposes that one may understand human culture by means of a structure—modeled on language (i.e., structural linguistics)—that differs from concrete reality and from abstract ideas—a "third order" that mediates between the two.Essentially, human culture can be understood by looking at the mediumistic construct(s) which connect the person's abstract understandings of reality (when we understand reality, the model of reality we form in our head is called "abstract understandings"), with actual reality. Language is perhaps the most prominent example of a mediumistic construct. This is why linguistics is such an important part of structuralist and post-structuralist conversation. The distinction, however, between general structuralism and post-structuralism is post-structuralism's disagreement with structuralism on the range of meaning of these mediumistic constructs; post-structuralism is essentially emphasizing the plurality of meaning and the instability of concepts that structuralism uses to define society: language, literature, etc. Post-structuralist authors all present different critiques of structuralism, but common themes include the rejection of the self-sufficiency of structuralism and an interrogation of the binary oppositions that constitute its structures. Writers whose works are often characterised as post-structuralist include: Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, Judith Butler, Jean Baudrillard, Julia Kristeva, and Jürgen Habermas, as well as others from the Frankfurt Schools, although many theorists who have been called "post-structuralist" have rejected the label.Existential phenomenology is a significant influence; Colin Davis has argued that post-structuralists might just as accurately be called "post-phenomenologists".
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main subject: post-structuralism

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