Sociology Index

Post-structuralism

Closely related to postmodernism, Post-structuralism had its origins in the structuralism and is an essential project of structuralism. Post-structuralism denotes the heterogeneous works of a series of mid-20th-century French and continental philosophers and critical theorists. A major theme of post-structuralism is instability in the human sciences and the impossibility of fully escaping structures in order to study them. Post-structuralism changes the way we understand the relations between human beings, their culture, and the world. Anglo-American and Continental thinkers have long denied that there can be a coherent moral defense of the poststructuralist politics of Michel Foucault. For many Anglo-American thinkers, as well as for Critical Theorists such as Habermas, poststructuralism is not coherent enough to defend morally.

Post-structuralism: A Very Short Introduction. Following a brief account of the historical relationship between structuralism and post-structuralism, this introduction traces the key arguments that have led post-structuralists to challenge traditional theories of language and culture. While the author discusses such well-known figures as Roland Barthes, Paul Michel Foucault, Derrida, and Lacan, she also draws pertinent examples from literature, art, film, and popular culture, unfolding the post-structuralist account of what it means to be a human being.

Poststructuralism and the Epistemological Basis of Anarchism. Andrew M. Koch. Poststructuralism confronts the state by undercutting the foundational premises that support the state rather than offering a competing ontology of the subject. Without the possibility of stable human representations, the foundations underlying the exercise of institutional power can be challenged. This epistemological discussion is traced from Max Stirner to the twentieth-century movement known as poststructuralism.

Critical Theory, Poststructuralism, Postmodernism: Their Sociological Relevance. Annual Review of Sociology. Vol. 17:105-131 (August 1991).
Examines the main theoretical contributions of critical theory, poststructuralism and postmodernism. Empirical and conceptual applications of these perspectives include work in the sociology of deviant behavior, gender, media and culture.