Succinct and to the point without the use of extra difficult diction or over complicated explanationsa remarkable book in the series It is difficult to do a short introduction on poststructuralism but this very short introduction is better than some of the other subjects in the series I have read and much better than the odawful introduction to postmodernism Oxford inexplicably allowed One of the problems with this subject is it assumes you know something about a number of other subjects before you even read it like feminism psychoanalysis Marxism literary criticism etc etc but despite the fact that the author could have written detail this being one of the shorter entries in even this short series it still is a pretty ood introduction In five chapters the author presents us the multiple post structuralism theory From Saussure to Lyotard including Levi Strauss Althusser Foucault Barthes Derrida Lacan and Zizek Sex Art Politics Literature and Ethics are some of the depicted themes Lewis Carroll s dialogue between Alice and Humpty Dumpty and the case of Abel s ender changing confronts the idea of meaning as Imagine That! given in advance After poststructuralism meanings are notiven but can be changed or deconstructed Post structuralism doesn t deprive us of the power to change Power is movable There are conflicts and we choose sides Poststructuralism A Very Short Introduction Very Short Introductions 73 Catherine Belsey Poststructuralism changes the way we understand the relations between human beings their culture and the world Following a brief account of the historical relationship between structuralism and poststructuralism this Very Short Introduction traces the key arguments that have led poststructuralists to challenge traditional theories of language and culture While the author discusses such well known figures as Barthes Foucault Derrida and Lacan she also draws pertinent examples from literature art film and popular culture unfolding the poststructuralist account of what it means to be a human being Recent events have reinvigorated my interest in the sociocultural factors that impact our sense of well being The uality and character of our national discourse has abruptly changed and the psychological impact it has had on nearly everyone I encounter is profoundWhen the dominant cultural discourse is reflective of ones personal world view and when the national practices and policies are progressing in the direction of ones values and in the service of ones interests the feeling is of basic safety and optimism and the impulse is to a maintain the status uo andor b increase the rate of progress When the dominant discourse is hostile to ones world view and the national practices are in opposition to ones values and and interests the feeling is well pretty fuckin awful I don t know about y all but I have been feeling pretty critical lately for better or worse and I have been craving some critical theory to hopefully lend acuity to my experience of the shit storm of wounding words and ideas that have been flying around the data sphere as of lateI read a bunch of critical theory in college but that was a long time ago and I have been in a very different head space for a Elena's Conquest good long time and I wanted a little refresher So what the F is poststructuralismPoststructuralism is an intellectual movement defined by its critical relationship to its predecessor structuralism hence the nameStructuralism was a primarily European philosophical and linguistics movement one of modernities many ism s based on the work of Swiss linguist Ferdinand De Saussure who along with Charles Sanders Pierce pronounced purse founded the field of semiotics ie the study of signs and symbols and their useinterpretationSaussure is most known for his theory of The Sign which differentiates symbolic language into a signifier and b signifiedA Sign refers to anything with symbolic value eg a logo wordlyph rude hand esture etc According to Saussure signs only have meaning because we people collectively decide and agree that they have meaning For example The word Prince is a sign that refers to among other things the American singer songwriter multi instrumentalist and record producer known for his flamboyant stage presence extravagant dress makeup and wide vocal range The Signifier refers to a sign s physical form such as a sound printed word or image as distinct from its meaning The signifier is in this example the actual word Prince the meaning of which is arbitrary ie the word has no intrinsic meaning it s just a sound and it can mean what ever we want it to as long as we agreeThat particular example Prince was so Arbitrary In Fact That The Dude Switched Signifiers In Mid in fact that the dude switched signifiers in mid from a word Prince to a freaky ender fucked suiggle and implored us to refer to him as the artist formerly known as Prince And it sort of worked The Signified refers to the actual thing indicated by the signifier The signified in this example is the actual little purple dude who just recently went over the rainbow bridge to paisley paradise If you re familiar with Prince or the artist formerly know as than you may be capable of decoding interpreting all of these signifiers and assembling them into meaningful structures The fundamental uestion at the heart of both structuralism and poststructuralism isIs meaning the cause or effect of languageIf your a structuralist your answer would be the latter According to structuralists we tend to naively relate to our experience as primary and the langue we use to describe our experiences as secondary But the structuralists contend that the reverse is the actually case ie that language determines experienceRoland Barthes was a French literary theorist linguist and philosopher Barthes
Explored A Diverse Range Of a diverse range of important to the inception of poststructuralismHe s probably most know for this declaration of the death of the Author and the birth of the reader Premodern and early modern literary criticism assumed that it was necessary to understand the intentions of the author in order to understand the meaning of a text Barthes argued that this tactic closed down or institutionalized the meaning of a text and thereby mummified it Barthes advocated for flexibility in interpretation of texts and argued for a direct experience of the text and a fluid and dynamic collective interactive interpretationBarthes argued that the readers interpretation was as valid if not than the authors Hence the death of the author and the birth of the reader One embarrassing AF example of this can be King Alfred's Version of St. Augustine's Soliloquies gleaned from another 90 s pop culture phenomenon anduilty pleasure Pearl JamTheir song Alive was initially conceived of as melancholy and pessimistic But the fans interpreted the song as hopeful and that eventually changed the meaning for everyone including the band Jacues Derrida was like the rock Starr of poststructuralist critical theory He is best known for developing a form of semiotic analysis known as deconstruction That s right he s the Rescuing Gus guy who launched that meme into the noosphere And when I say meme I m not talking laugh out loud cats here I m talking industrial strength rip a fissure in the fabric of western thought type shitThe deconstructavist approach entails smashing texts into bits and seeing where the meaning is Derrida contended that the further down the meaning hole youo the less meaning you will find Definitions of words are made of words which have definitions which are made of words ad infinitum Deconstruction. Poststructuralism changes the way we understand the relations between human beings their culture and the world Following a brief account of the historical relationship between structuralism and poststructuralism this Very Short Introduction traces the key arguments that have led poststructuralists to challenge traditi.
Catherine Belsey ✓ 4 reviewClass of 92: Out of Our League giving speech a special place due to presence immediacy innocence lost in writing He heroes writing which continues in absence of writer threatening Logocentrism that thinks ideas came first then speech then writing A pure consciousness Derrida says thus Saussure contradicts himself Derrida hard to read because a European cultural references we don tet b tries to be very precise and c demonstrates in practice that language is not transparent clear pane of Portrait of a Starter: An Unhidden Story glass Foucault the libertine radical had a very strong section in this book Contrasting medieval public execution with modern mental institutions saying former were free criminals behaving courageously often became public heroes Space to rebel Learning entails submission There is no power without the possibility of resistance Crime itself is a refusal of the law eccentricity is a repudiation of norms vice is a rejection of conventional ethics Greeks never considered themselves defined by sexual habits so paedophiliahomosexuality would ve been far less important in their lives Foucault rejected Marxism as another discipline self proclaimed truth recruiting subjects Similarly postmodernist Lyotard who was suspicious ofrand narratives of History like Marx Funny then why there is such a link between neomarxism and postmodernism Lacan reinterprets Freud through Saussure We are born organisms then become subjects by inculcating our culturelanguage Organism becomes alienated forced to communicate using constrained language Something is lost here crops up in dreams Freudian slips In the How the West Was Lost: Fifty Years of Economic Folly--and the Stark Choices Ahead gap desire is born Perpetual condition that is unconscious but finds expression in our projection onto temporary love objects Freud believed civilization was sublimation transforming raw sexual drives into socially approved artistic creation Lacan says everyone s drives is made to serve civilization like making things teaching writing etc Zizek believes in underlying antagonism in individual manifests in particular phobias like Islamic fundamentalism or communism Once destroyed we will find antagonism is notone So totalitarianism which suppresses it or liberal democracy that civilizes it are both the sameJean Francois Lyotard my favorite section of the book believes in dissension Commitment to consensus promotes bland centrism no challenge to status uo intellectual inventive lateral thinking Uses Wittgenstein to characterize dialogue as succession of manoevres That s why a certain pleasure in linguistic inventiveness like puns jokes Dislikes rand narratives like Marxist history Prefers heterogeneity multiplication of difference and pursuit of unknown through paralogy a form of reasoning that breaks rules or invents new ones Against realism the enemy of doubt Renaissance painters had strict 3D Geometry rules in painting Then Dutch realism Now photography tv delivering facts 20th century said truth was
inaccessible became a modernism lamented impossibility of truthbecame a modernism lamented impossibility of truth of lost presence or b postmodernism celebrating capability to create new rules forms working
without rules to discover what the overning rules of their workrules to discover what the overning rules of their work have been Ulysses Duchamp s Fountain Nazis endorsed classicism hated avant arde Stalin too Thought they had truth and wanted it to be transmitted Avantgarde poses uestions Undermines certainty Is the author talking about linguistics now Or politics Or metaphysics Oh wait it s popular culture No it s ethics Or is it psychoanalysis Art theory Anthropology Or just literary criticismNormally I love multi tasking authors and theories of everything but when I o through the above in just two pages I know there s a problem there And yet this is exactly what I feel when I read poststructuralism related authors No most of them don t like to be called poststructuralist Sadly this very short introduction suffers the same problemBelsey manages to be clearer than the thinkers she presents in the book especially in Chapter 3 Difference and Desire Despite her and my best efforts however in the other chapters I felt sharply oscillating between Well this is pretty obvious and Well this doesn t make sense at all another feature that the book shares with the founding texts of poststructuralismIf a school of thought keeps its confused and obscure style even in the text of a very short introduction for lay people it seems only fair to conclude once again that either these authors don t
Have Anything Substantial To Sayanything substantial to say they have discovered an esoteric truth that they cannot communicate If we remember how much they despise such truths we re left with only one option For me this book did what it said on the tin I ve skirted around PS in its different forms for a while now when dabbling in semiotics and critical theory etc and really wanted to know a little about what it s all about without burdening myself with a loaded textbookIt s not an easy subject I don t believe anyone who says they find it easy It challenges on uite a fundamental level a lot of the structures and common ideas on society and language This book barely skims the surface But what it is is a menu See what takes your fancy and then you can pursue those lines of enuiry yourself to read furtherFor me I came away with a peeked interest in learning about Saussure Foucault he sounds like fun and Derrida he sounds far too clever for me It also reignited a little love affair I had with Freudian teachings a while agoIn summary it does contain difficult language and ideas because it s dealing with a subject that is built upon challenging language and ideas As short as it is I wouldn t necessary consider it an easy read But if I wanted that I d try a Dummies uide Useless shitty crap Excellent intro to poststructural thought complete with clear and vivid illustrations and witty explanations A very Fallen Angel: The Passion of Fausto Coppi good straightfoward place to start if you re interested in poststructuralism. With wit accessibility and style Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics Written by experts for the newcomer they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics from philosophy to Freud uantum theory to Isla. Seeks to expose and subvert eitheror type binary oppositions that characterize thuggishly simplistic ways of thinking eg presenceabsence speechwriting subjectobject truefalse etc One of my favorite pieces ofraffiti could be found at the Taueria where I used to eat when I was in high school It read slogans limit thoughtI think think Derrida might addso do binary oppositionsDeconstructing SaussureDerrida ultimately criticizes the binary opposition of the signifiersignified Derrida asserted that structuralism underestimated the primacy of written language Derrida asserts that writing is precisely the way we make construct sense And apparently dollars to if you consider the art of the dealThese arguments are particularly interesting in light of American constitutional law and politicsOne side wants to claim to understand the intentions of the framers of the constitution and rigidly adhere to them But only when it serves their interests The other side of interprets the text as fluid dynamic and evolving But only when it serves their interests This seemingly frivolous battles over the meaning of texts have real world implications It feels worthwhile to resurrect the corpse of critical theory in order to lift is the fog from the battlefield and sharpen the sword If nothing else it s fun to precisely articulate The fact that the emperor has no clothes save for his line of branded ties Significant influences on poststructuralism include Marxism psychoanalysis and existential philosophy and phenomenology Important poststructuralist authors include Michel Foucault Judith Butler and Jean Baudrillard They all critiued aspects of structuralism and were considered to comprise poststructuralism s pantheon of heavyosity although many of them rejected the moniker That s a pretty fussy crowd and I would expect nothing less Poststructuralist s created constructs and language to deconstruct language In so doing they stumbled on to some deep territory just beyond the reach of languageThe thing the poststructuralist s were trying to do with language and thought ie disassemble the masters house with the masters own tools seems uixotic but is actually uite importantCritical theory pushed up against the edge of 3rd person perspectives but could not surpass a certain boundary due to methodological constraints That boundary is where the social sciences beginI m a therapistI m always trying to use language to deconstruct and explore an emotion memory idea belief or intention I also have a background in the arts In fact I was first introduced to pomo theory in art school in the 90 sI m very interested in the vin diagram zone of overlap between the humanities and the social sciences Therapy is as much an art form as a science Therapy void of profundity is denatured Therapy void of validity is effeteEuropean psychodynamic schools of psychotherapy are After Tamerlane: The Global History of Empire Since 1405 grounded in the humanities American cognitive behavioral schools of psychotherapy arerounded in scientific pragmatismPostmodern theory is like a bridge between the two worlds Devoid of coherent structure organization of ideas contextual understanding and conceptual connections this is either the work of a really bad writercommunicator or a total Straussian enius inserting a meta commentary about post structuralism within a work on post structuralism It is after all the writing that writes If I am to believe Barthes that distinction is anyway null and void so perhaps best to ignore it altogether I do have a much nuanced understanding of poststructuralism as well as a new empathy for linguistic arguments like with LGBT pronouns I see that now as a logical reaction under a system of beliefs that raises the importance of language above ideas and consciousness Although it does make me wonder why we would create ungendered pronouns only for people identifying within LGBT If the foundational argument is that there are differences among menwomen than the commonalities that we force upon them through creation of endered terms and that those manlywomanly ualities are socially constructed then shouldn t cis hetero men also use ungendered pronouns that seems like an argument no conservative could reasonably vilifyI came at this after reading the VSI s by Peter Singer and thinking his clarity of concept context and evolution of thought process were probably the hallmark of this VSI series and promptly picked up some of the
that Wikipedia just can explain to me like this one postmodernism critical theory etc I was dismayed to find that Peter Singer s lucidity was the exception rather than the norm You d think understanding poststructuralism might need an understanding of structuralism first You d be wrong You d think iven its emphasis on social construction there would first be a look at the historical political and social environments that birthed it asTopics That Wikipedia Just Can
"a philosophy and movement You d be wrong This entire VSI is a "philosophy and movement You d be wrong This entire VSI is a mess that has the stench of simple ideas presented with complexity like the irritating disciples of Derrida that she mentions The ideas are complex sure but a little patience is enough to figure out individual passages What s exhausting though is finding any sort of unifying clarity of thought that links all the different passages applications to various social institutions and beliefs the main proponents This is as ood as a collection of Wikipedia articles on each of the main personalities of this movement with no effort taken to understand this with the depth that it deserves that might make the reading than the sum of its parts If that wasn t bad enough the writing is drenched with the political leanings of the author straw manning of opposing points and some really annoyingly superficial You may argue picking the weakest possible arguments in order to defend the point Again maybe I misspeak when I say author maybe the writing itself drenches us with its fully intended political leanings But it is very jarring to read such a hopelessly propagandizing blinkered presentation of what should be a very enlightened philosophy of skepticism humility personal meaning creation and radicalization Where it isn t jarring it is insipid in a way that makes Yuval Harari look profound and nuanced Take this line In so far as the uestion matters at all and perhaps in the end it doesn t much my answer would be yes and no as only a bad example This would be a much stronger read if one ignored all altogether where she wishy washes her own ideas straight down the drainBut let me how I really feelLewis Carroll worship is still alive and kicking Starting off Humpty s when I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean contrasting that personal meaning with words are unruly they have a temper suggesting a mind of their own and finding a mention later about how the entire dialogue is like a ame picking up from Wittgenstein s thoughtsWhat if language doesn t originate from consciousness instead a product of the meanings we learn No objective reality Ideas are not the cause but the effect of meanings we reproduceModern used as an adjective for new but modernity has become a thing of the past postmodern What will post postmodern be calledSaussure argued that if thingsconcepts that language described existed outside it then it would have exact euivalents in all languages But why would someone in the Sahara have a word for snow or for polar bears Doesn t this prove that there is an objective reality in the realm of forms that is being manifested incomp. Onal theories of language and culture While the author discusses such well known figures as Barthes Foucault Derrida and Lacan she also draws pertinent examples from literature art film and popular culture unfolding the poststructuralist account of what it means to be a human being About the Series Combining authority. ,