Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Molly Dulcinea Roth
Structuralism is a powerful theoretical framework that dominated French thought in the 1960s. Deriving from the insights of the Swiss Linguist Ferdinand de Saussure and receiving its most comprehensive expression in the anthropology of Claude Lévi-Strauss, the structuralist paradigm also operates in the political philosophy of Louis Althusser, the psychoanalysis of Jacques Lacan, the “narratology” of Roland Barthes, the sociology of Pierre Bourdieu, the “history” of Michel Foucault, and the genre studies of Tzvetan Todorov. Uniting a generation of intellectuals against the postwar hegemony of Sartre's existentialism, with its emphases on the individual will and the act but also defined against phenomenologists such as Merleau-Ponty, structuralists were interested in the ways that acts were constructed by forces beyond individual consciousness. Structuralists saw systematic patterning in human expressions and actions that indicated not individual free will, but rather, structures of language, power, culture, and the psyche that had more or less ...