History of Structuralism, Volume 2: The Sign Sets 1967-Present

History of Structuralism, Volume 2: The Sign Sets 1967-Present

Fran├žois Dosse

Language: English

Pages: 543

ISBN: 2:00180452

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Claude Lévi-Strauss, Roland Barthes, Jacques Lacan, Louis Althusser, Jacques Derrida, and Michel Foucault—the ideas of this group of French intellectuals who propounded structuralism and poststructuralism have had a profound impact on disciplines ranging from literary theory to sociology, from anthropology to philosophy, from history to psychoanalysis. In this long-awaited translation, History of Structuralism examines the thinkers who made up the movement, providing a fascinating elucidation of a central aspect of postwar intellectual history.

François Dosse tells the story of structuralism from its beginnings in postwar Paris, a city dominated by the towering figure of Jean-Paul Sartre. The work of Saussure became the point of departure for a group of younger scholars, and the outcome was not only the doom of Sartre as intellectual leader but the birth of a movement that would come to reconfigure French intellectual life and would eventually reverberate throughout the Western world.

Dosse provides a readable, intelligible overall account, one that shows the interrelationship among the central currents of structuralism and situates them in context. Dosse illuminates the way developments in what are usually distinct fields came to exert such influence on each other, showing how the early structuralists paved the way for later developments and for recent discourses such as postmodernism. The cast of characters related by Dosse includes those mentioned above as well as Roman Jakobson, Julia Kristeva, Pierre Bourdieu, Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, Tzvetan Todorov, and many others. Chapters are devoted to major figures, and Dosse has done extensive interviews with the major and minor figures of the movement, furnishing an intellectual history in which historical players look back at the period.

This first comprehensive history of the structuralist movement is an essential guide to a major moment in the development of twentieth-century thought, one that provides a cogent map to a dizzying array of personalities and their ideas. It will be compelling reading for those interested in philosophy, literary theory, sociology, anthropology, linguistics, and psychoanalysis.

First published in French as Histoire du structuralisme, Éditions La Découverte, Paris, 1991, 1992

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attention to Derrida's polyvalent polysemism there is a common ground, and a basis for collaboration and for a possible suture between deconstruction and the acknowledged scientificity of psychoanalytic discourse. "Derrida reinscribes what Freud explained by repression within the general economy of the text. "12 Here, the idea of differance was conceived as a means of taking into account the forces of wear that Freud had observed, their modes of inscription in the ever out-of-sync moments of the

regularities. These mechanisms were the concern, the meaning of utterances was not. Utterances were to be broken down into their immediate constituents and classified in a distributional order. American linguistics prior to Chomsky was thus essentially descriptive, linear, and based on an assumed transparency between speech acts and their meaning. The systems of opposition emphasized by American structuralism made it above all possible to avoid mentalism. This descriptive, distributional approach

and Raymond Bellour wrote articles to familiarize readers with the progress made in different social sciences. Benveniste, however little drawn to media pronouncements, agreed to an interview with Pierre Daix on July 24, 1968. He was surprised by the excitement and interest aroused by a doctrine that was both poorly and tardily understood since it was already forty years old in linguistics, where "things had already developed beyond structuralism. "41 Pierre Daix had, however, become the most

the subject, of a linguistics of enunciation, and therefore of Benveniste's theses. Even if the ego had somewhat changed since the psychoanalytic break, and was split to such a degree that the all-purpose sentence became the famous "it hurts me ... somewhere." This metamorphosed ego was back with a vengance. In 1972, jane Fonda and Yves Montand finished Godard's Tout va bien with a dawn shot: the dawn of thinking oneself historically, a clear sign of the new tendencies of the time. Studying

individual could represent the group, where the division of production was based on its redistribution, and where power was more solidly constructed and enduring, and held by the elders. Arguing that kinship relationships did not determine all social organization in primitive societies, Terray claimed that their eventual dominance depended on their role as relations of production. "We notice simply that the supremacy of kinship relationships in all social organization in no way characterizes all

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