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Sorry I am very new to editing Wikipedia entries, but I thought someone should know that Foucault was a Structuralists and NOT a post-structuralists. This definitely needs to be changed and you can check out "History of Structuralism" by By François Dosse and Deborah Glassman, for a good reference as to his role in the Structuralist theoretical movement. Amy Dunckel Sociologist PhD Candidate SUNY Stony Brook.

Opening heading

June 1, 2006: Reworked definition/first paragraph. Don't have the heart at the moment to tackle anymore. Hope it's made a little clearer now.

OT: Does the links-as-bulleted-list phenomenon bug anyone else? It seems to me to waste a lot of space. Comma-separated lists can look messy though. Anyone come up with any other solutions? :Seth Mahoney 18:11, 17 Dec 2003 (UTC)

(continue discussion at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style) I also think using bulleted lists for "see also" links wastes screen space and requires too much scrolling. We could get a higher information density, which is almost always a good thing, by running them together in lines. Commas don't provide enough separation; how about slashes, pipes, or dashes? I like dashes best, e.g.
See also: Thing one -- Another reference -- A third reference
Higher information density is almost never a good thing when displaying it— only when storing it. --Blainster 18:20, 20 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Rather than quoting Paul Harrison's "it would be inconsistent with post-structuralist concepts to codify itself in such a way", i think the first section should at least attempt to define post-structuralism in common terms, or at least list here the various definitions found below in other sections. User:nkautz

This article is really about the "sociology" of post-structuralism, and not about its substance. The sociology is important, but it doesn't tell a neophyte what post-structuralism IS.

difficulty understanding this

Maybe if this was a university thesis paper on post-structuralism, I would commend this post for being superior in writing style; however, I'm just trying to *understand* post-structuralism, and the superfluous vocabulary which is used is driving me nuts. Sentences such as, "...are most clearly distinct from structuralist predecessors in their rejection of ST. reductivist methodology..." I have no idea what the reductivist methodology is, and I already got through reading and understanding structuralist criticism. Also, I would like to know how structuralists "claim to be a critical metalanguage."

Just looking over this again I'd have to say that, all in all, I think this could be better written to be clearer to the layman. Yes, that means the writer is superior to us all intellectually...I'm fine with that. I just want to understand what he's saying. This article doesn't help me attain any comprehension of post-structuralism. Which is frustrating.

Maybe once I have this under my belt I'll post my own version and see if it's any better; but I really have a little ways until that is possible still.

I agree that it is difficult to understand. I think the concept like this should be explained at atleat two different intellect levels.

I agree with the above writer. The prose is obtuse (e.g., a 69-word sentence!) Needs to be re-written for clarity. soverman 6:57 23 Oct 02 (UTC)

Writing in language that's hard to understand is clearly not a sign of intellectual superiority... it's a sign of sucky writing. But if you think this is bad, you should try reading some of the actual authors who get called poststructuralists. Sheez. That's the trouble I think. Getting into these authors is a lot like learning a foreign language, except that once people get inside they don't know how to translate it back.
I think it's clear from the article that there does not exist a unified poststructural theoretical base, hence the inability of this page's authors to efficiently sum up the works of a number of disparate authors. you simply cannot begin to discuss PS without invoking structuralism. even once this is done, it's difficult to come to understand where authors grouped as PS are coming from without you yourself encountering some of the theoretical and practical hurdles that structuralism and binary thinking put in place.

-*-->i dont see what the problem is. if you are reading this to gain understanding then you are likely already used to difficult vocabulary. someone who comments that the style is "sucky" should not be listened to in the first place.

>Poststructuralism is, among many things, about the inadequacies of language. It is almost impossible to write about, by definition. This article really does a surprisingly good job of making incredibly slippery concepts easier to grasp.


With the greatest of respect, any article that attempts to define the work of serious academics by reference to an event in America almost fifty years ago cannot be neutral. Worse, the article is full of contemptuous disparagement, characterising the subject as intellectual flotsam washed up on America's shores, etc. In my opinion it should be completely rewritten to provide a more balanced view. -David91 2 July 2005 14:10 (UTC)

First of all, you've got some math problems; 1966 was not fifty years ago. Second: that's an inaccurate summary. The article does not offer descriptions of the work of people per se; it offers that the term is simply inadequately articulated to be able to provide any kind of precise description. The term is about the reception of people's work rather than the work itself. Third: you're going to have problems substantiating the claim that "attempts to define the work of serious academics by reference to an event in America almost fifty years ago cannot be neutral". Why exactly would that be inherent? Buffyg 2 July 2005 14:35 (UTC)

You confirm my opinion in your statement, "The article does not offer descriptions of the work of people per se". If it was a neutral article, it would offer a simple coherent statement of the modern strands of post-structuralism more than adequately articulated in the current work of serious academics. How the leading theorists may have been received in America almost fifty years ago should not be the starting point for a review of the current set of theories. It seems inappropriate to deconstruct the page as it stands to leave the inherent biases naked. If you are prepared to negotiate over the text, shall we move to a discussion of how to arrive at a more neutral form of words? -David91 2 July 2005 15:54 (UTC)

Much like your muddled identification of bias, your proposed standard is wholly insufficient and parts of your argument just don't follow ("If it was a neutral article, it would offer a simple coherent statement of the modern strands of post-structuralism more than adequately articulated in the current work of serious academics," which mysteriously and seemingly inherently excludes a basic historical account, the inclusion of which you seem to insist is a pervision of bias), so I'd expect we've got a lot of discussion pending. You're free to hold what opinion you like, but if you can't argue it cogently, you'll excuse me for saying that it doesn't help improve the article, let alone establish where it has lost its neutrality. I fail to understand how one gets to neutrality by setting aside a series of vexing questions about the subject matter that are generally admitted. I'm not the first to observe the limits to the coherence of the term. From the Encyclopedia of Contemporary Literary Theory:
Poststructuralism is not a unified school of thought or even a movement; the term is most prominent in the external discourse of criticism. Authors most frequently labelled by word (Jacques Derrida, Michel Focault, Roland Barthes) seldom characterize their work as such, and confess to no shared doctrine or commitment to a single method. (p. 158, entry by Zsuzsa Baross)
The term also belongs to a sociology of the academy of academic fashion. Because it is "most prominent in the external discourse of criticism", it seems entirely reasonable to devote attention to issues of reception, which is exactly what has been attempted. That being said, I certainly think that the article needs to be improved and ought to be expanded. In particular, I would not contest that some of the arguments need to be reeled in and qualified more carefully.
I made the following very ad hoc remark not very long ago on the Lacan talk page, and I'll copying them here with some minor revisions:
Some of the remarks I made in rewriting the poststructuralism article need to be tempered: the distinguishing feature of poststructuralism is the inheritance of various thinkers from structuralism. The "post" doesn't indicate that structuralism is over but that it no longer commands anything like an orthodox following. I'd cite the example of Derrida: Derrida makes a robust effort to say what it is that commends structuralism even as he details inherent limitations in structuralism which are in an internal sense necessary but not strictly so from a wider philosophical perspective. Derrida's response to structuralism identifies this necessity even as he transforms the understanding resulting from, not ultimately discarding structuralism (this being rather equivalent to kicking a ladder out from under oneself) but incorporating it in its historicity into his work. In this sense structuralism remains indispensable to poststructuralism. The attempts to transform structuralism may not at all resemble one another, which is why poststructuralists are bound together by little other than structuralism.
There is, however, also a phenomenon of fashion in the term, and it's the transformation of profound thinking into fashion that makes the term one of abuse. I also have trouble seeing why you make the leap of saying that observing this phenomenon and the disparagement that has greeted it is a matter of injecting POV or, for that matter, reflects directly on those who work became fashion objects of a sort. I'd cite your use of the term "deconstruct" here as evidence supporting this point. Buffyg 3 July 2005 11:11 (UTC)

I take John Lye's summary to be a reasonably nonjudgmental summary of post-structuralism today ( Can we use this as a point of departure? If you have some objection to this particular site, perhaps you would care to nominate one or more sites that we can use for verification purposes. -David91 3 July 2005 14:26 (UTC)

Took out some of the unfounded assertions, and NPOVed the criticism in the second sentence. There are critics, but that needn't be highlighted with a little quip on every sentence, if nessisary, devote a seperate section to "critiques". Do so systematicaly people, do not add little snarky comments which are evidently not NPOV. Added some links, so much work to be done on this one, just passing through though. --anon

NPOV but weird/stupid

This used to be after the second sentence:

"Some argue its [post-structuralism's] usage is contentious; arguing it is a buzzword that is often some combination of derogatory, hapless, and polemical in use. Following the premise that these characterizations are valid, post-structuralism is dismissed as a grab-bag of tricks used to argue for relativism, perspectivism, and ultimately nihilism from the academic left. Proponents believe that post-structuralism offers a viable way of examining power and structure in society and language."

First of all, this passage is really awkward (I could go through and trace why and how, if it's helpful). But even if we could fix it up, I still don't really think it belongs. We should just be describing what poststructuralism is (a philosophical movement of French thinkers) and what its key themes are--not telling people how they should respond to it. If you disagree with the description of what "post-structuralism" is, by all means change it... but I still say this weird little section should go.

Please see recent discussion on NPOV. If you think poststructuralism is "a philosophical movement of French thinkers," I'd have to argue that the description is insufficient and misleading. The term comes from the reception of work that has little more than a renegotiation with structuralism in common. I have attempted further revisions.

I thought the process for arriving at a text was intended to be consensual. As it is, you have begun a unilateral rewrite predicated on the POV that the 'pedia is about journalistic commentaries rather than simple statements that explain complex matters to naive readers. Although I accept that you have made some improvements, for which I thank you, I would prefer a more co-operative approach. I have therefore reinstated the NPOV notice in anticipation of negotiation over structure and content. -David91 4 July 2005 04:58 (UTC)

I have begun a unilateral rewrite based on "journalistic commentaries rather than simple statements that explain complex matters to naive readers"? Mate, there were ten edits to the page before mine, so I don't know how you can characterise mine as "unilateral" — my effort was to clean up the other edits that had been made and clarify the argument I had offered previously to reduce language that I thought was too strong.
In any case: no, I don't agree with what you've offered as a "reasonably nonjudgmental summary of post-structuralism today", starting not just with the premise of "a rejection of totalizing, essentialist, foundationalist concepts" but with the introductory paragraph. You can keep making snippy remarks about providing an historical context and ignore citations that I offer that indicate I'm not just making this up if you like, but there's not a "negotiation over structure and content" if you don't respond to what I've said and simply reassert your basic point, with which I cannot agree, certainly not as argued. I have asserted that there are a number of fundamental problems that make historical treatment of the term preferable (or at least mandatory) and introduced evidence for why this is the case. I find it utterly perverse that, rather than arguing your view, you continue to skip over this point and to argue that it is a matter of "inherent bias", largely by arguing against what you take to be its implications, few of which seem to me well-reasoned. You'll forgive me if I set aside your larger objections pending their coherent presentation, as this is necessary to the sort of cooperation you prefer. Your response further indicates that you reinstated the NPOV tag because of lack of co-operation over editing rather than substantiated disputes with revisions made to reduce POV, but where exactly is the violation of neutral perspective in the current article?
I have and will continue to provide citations; at the moment I'm chasing down a few in my collection. How about putting François Dosse's History of Structuralism on the list of source materials? Buffyg 4 July 2005 11:11 (UTC)

I did some of the pre-buffyg crap editing, and his/her massive improvements on top of that make this article MUCH better than the snippy sarcasm drenched one it was before (which had the sole purpose of trying to cast aspersions on post-structuralism while fundamentally misunderstanding it). So it's a work it progress, yes, but buffyg's also made large improvements to the point where the *point of view* is no longer an issue, and it is merely restructuring and improving expression. I would suggest David91's criticisms are valid, just not pertaining to NPOV. Going through a number of books here I don't see any disagreement between the article and them on the definition of p-s, only in quality; there is no point-of-view issue here anymore. Remove the tag. If someone has a NPOV issue, let them state it in reference to the NPOV page and clearly show where they think there is bias. The original NPOV was pertaining to the comments which are no longer there. This is a *new* NPOV and must be properly justified. -anon

I was waiting quietly for what I hoped would be an interesting exchange of views with a young Turk. There will come a time when a little humility will serve you rather better than this form of defensive hectoring. I am unwatching this page, leaving you with a simple observation. I think you have framed the page around a number of indicative silences. For example, an absence of any positive explanation of the theories that are labelled post-structural, no presentation of the perfectly reasonable justification implicit in those theories for denying that there is a movement, etc. But no matter. I wish you well in your future career although, if you end up in higher education, I regret to say that most of the fun has gone out of it. -David91 4 July 2005 18:26 (UTC)


A beginner's question, I suppose, but is British spelling a site policy or just an attempt at consistency within the page?

Policy calls for consistency within the page or with the subject matter. I realised I hadn't been consistent the first time out in re-writing this article, so I did a spell check. Buffyg 21:13, 7 October 2005 (UTC)

This article still sucks

The writing style of this particular article is still pointless and futile. There is a reason post-structuralism is the laughing stock of philosophy, and its because its crazed adherents are unable to communicate in their native language.

Check out this choice quote: More grandly, it is said that this reductionism is violent, and that post-structuralism identifies this with Western civilisation and objectionable excesses of colonialism, racism, misogyny, homophobia, and the like.

I think that this proves how truly biased post-structuralism is, but ultimately it doesn't make any sense. WHO says this. More importantly WHY. And who gives a damn if its grand? Post-structuralism seeks to use nonsense gobblygook diction to attack western civilization. That is what I believe is its goal. Now, some turkey should get busy and write this article in such a way as to not contribute to the coming academic war...

I don't mean to defend this bit of sucky writing, but I still don't think this whole line of critique is necessarilly a bunch of bull. I could maybe see some argument behind the reductionism claim (although it's clearly missing here). Like reductionism is all about destroying our common sense interpretation of things--that's sort of violent. And in choosing which concepts to reduce to physical fact, it's sort of like you're turning your own biased cultural views into objective facts--which in a sense is negating the views of all other cultures. (For example, reducing love to a biological imperative for reproduction probably does have some homophobic implications. And it doesn't seem too far-fetched to suggest there's a form of colonialism at work in claiming that our Western love is biological truth for everyone.)


The organization of this article seems a little strange, as it starts with the historic circumstances of the term and only gets to the substance of what post-structuralism is towards the end. Anybody want to reorganize? Danielsilliman 06:45, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

"As much as anything else, post-structuralism may find substance in the fact that many of its most prominent works are by authors who were closely associated with structuralism, and more substance yet in that much of the work so designated attempts to reforge structuralist positions whose limitations transformed so many structuralists into critics of structuralism."

- Is there any reason encyclopedic prose needs to sound like this? --Gargletheape 06:54, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

- yes, there is a reason, it is a form of selection effect re authors and subject matter.

Article Rewrite

I've begun to rewrite and reorganize this article. With this sort of issue, it's important not to throw the reader into the topic, but rather give them the pieces they need to learn more. One of the major issues I've tried to bring out is the nebulous relationship between structuralism and post-structuralism. Therefore, I have organized some of the information around that idea, rather than chop information up into little sections. To understand post-structuralism you need to understand the relationship between things, not simply the facts themselves. Otherwise it becomes soup.

Aside from further rewriting, the next step is to include major works and concepts. I will go through the intellectuals we have listed and pick out some notable works, though I could use suggestions. --Vector4F 00:10, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

"structuralism's claims of culturally independent meaning"

Does structuralism really claim that there can be meaning independent of culture? I think not. And the first sentence of the structuralism article agrees: structuralism claims that meaning is produced through cultural structures. That is, you've already got the idea that meaning comes about from the cultural context.

Instead, it seems like poststructuralism's challenge to strucutralism comes in the claim that we can't accurately analyze these structures. Poststructuralists question the analyst's ability to ever really get to the bottom of these structures and meanings, in the way that structuralists frequently claimed to.

I think it's as much the case that structuralism asserts one important context (the author's), while post-structuralism asserts infinite important contexts (each reader of a text). Or am I oversimplifying? ObtuseAngle 00:18, 6 March 2007 (UTC)
I don't think you're oversimplifying, but I think you're addressing a different facet of the issue. This particular section relates to the cultural context of meaning(s), not necessarily their quantity or outcome. Pfiggs 19:24, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
To address the original poster: I think that structuralism does, in some sense, assume some knowledge or processes outside of cultural context, because the structuralist approach is based on ostensibly "objective" outside analysis of the meaning produced through culture. In this way, the author performing a structural analysis is placing himself, and all of his analytic processes, outside the realm of culture. The Post-structuralist critique of this approach is that the structuralist anthropologist is himself conditioned by culture, and his analytic processes emerge from his particular cultural context. Pfiggs 19:24, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

Post-structuralism and Post-modernism

What is the difference between the two? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 23:47, 18 January 2007 (UTC).

Post-modernism is better defined as a cultural and historical period with a certain kind of compression in time and space (see David Harvey's Condition of Postmodernity). Postmodernity is not neatly defined (no one definition) but is seen as a reaction to modernity. Whereas, post-structuralism is a reaction only to structuralism. Antony Chum 12:09, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

  • I see it like this: Both post-modernism and post-structuralism want to reassert the important of subjective knowledge and experience in light of modernist and structuralist emphasis on empirical knowledge as the only "proper" sort of knowledge. Post-modernism is epistemological in nature; it seeks to expand the definition of concepts like "true" and "knowable." Post-structuralism is linguistic in nature; it focuses on how an individual's understanding of words and phrases arises from that individual's culture and experience. Post-modernism is greater in scope than post-structuralism, but the two aim at a similar goal. ObtuseAngle 00:27, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

Correcting some details: r.e.: "students and workers alike rebelled against the state in May 1968, nearly causing the downfall of the French government"

The governement was never in danger of falling during that period. There were calls for general elections by some opposition leaders, but the government did not budge and went on to win the next elections. Pompidou, then prime minister remained in the position until he was elected president after De gaulle left, having lost the referendum of 15:07, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

r.e.:"the University of Paris VIII Vincennes in the northern Parisian suburb of Saint-Denis" Vincennes is in the East-South-East suburb of Paris. It was about a mile away from the Metro station "Château de Vincennes" or the R.E.R station "Vincennes". There is another university in Saint-Denis, the northern suburb of Paris, but it is a different one... 15:16, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

The irony of it all...

One must point out the irony that the Wikipedia article on post-structuralism is oblique and hard to understand... as someone who holds a degree in philosophy, I must say: lol. Rockstar915 23:21, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

So true. To all the people complaining that post-structuralism is hard to grasp: if you really want to "get it", you've got some reading to do. It can't be encapsulated in neat little sound bites; as Hegel tells us, true knowing cannot be attained by empty universals and neat abstractions, baby. You have to spend time with the material.

Since much of this stuff is a reaction to and criticism of western philosophy in general, I suggest you start with a bit of the pre-Socratics, move on to Plato and Aristotle, then try some medieval scholasticism. After that, Descartes, Kant and Hegel should make pretty good sense, at which point you can move on to Schopenhauer and Marx. After all this, you can get to the good stuff: the Nietzsche-Heidegger-Derrida critique of everything you've read (and how you've read it) up to this point. Now you can read some Foucault and Kristeva, stroking your chin knowingly and looking profound as you deconstruct people before they even know what hit them!

Rather than quoting Paul Harrison's "it would be inconsistent with post-structuralist concepts to codify itself in such a way", i think the first section should at least attempt to define post-structuralism in common terms, or at least list here the various definitions found below in other sections.User:nkautz

So there you have it. No one's going to do it for you. Golden Brightfoot 22:57, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Well, "baby", 

I think we are all people who have read a bit, and still find your meta-bubble incomprehensible. Some of it is good, but people like Kristeva are total corrupts who manipulate history for their own political reasons (look at Kristeva's interpretation of the Dogma of the Holy Trinity in Orthodox Theology. The lady must do some reading beyond D'Aquina, there is a lot.) Even the snobbism with which you served your poststructuralist recipe shows the underlying ideology of "look how much I've read" etc. I can tell you that Aristotle would have committed suicide had he known Derrida.

"And after Plato and Aristotle, you get to the good stuff". Really? Get a life! Yeah, Derrida is the new Plato and Marx - nice joke. As a research student I am surrounded by postmodern self-indulgent freaks who read Barthes etc., even though their supervisors (as the students themselves tell me) complaint that their drafts are incomprehensible.

Even the literature you recommended is one sided: where is the angloamerican tradition? the split between the two traditions is fairly recent. And what is the critique of postystructuralism, please? I agree that we must be critical, but that applies to everyone. And where is Claude Levi Strauss, to whose "structuralism" you are supposed to object?

Most importantly: if your scholars point to the inadequacy of any language to express true meaning, how can they expect to solve this problem through language? This is where their language becomes incomprehensible, namely in the inherent contradiction of their effort. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:07, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

Get off your 'I'm such a true academic' highhorse and accept a joke when you see one. It's conservatives liek you who want to LIVE in the past and push anyone's new ideas down because thier 'inconceivable'. The point is people need some reading before this, and an open mind to let contemporary theorists have some new ideas about our society. Perhaps we've reached a point where there is not a such an extent to postulate on, and we revert to analysing what we already think. Also, how's being 'besties' with Aristotle going, has he told you what else he wants to kill himself about. Spew.

If people say it's hard to grasp, it probably is to an extent. We have the obligation and social responsibility to be clear - or else go home. Cheers. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:41, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

Would we then introduce marxist theorist who follow and spin off a structuralist methodology (e.g.: Frederic Jameson)?

Edits of 5 March 2007

I have made several major edits to the article today, mostly to clarify difficult passages and make the article more accessible to non-philosophers. If I have introduced any errors, please correct them. I will continue working on this article to improve its tone and readability. ObtuseAngle 23:35, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

Nice work! Aldrichio 23:54, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

I suggest that we remove that link to Derrida's "Structure,Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences"[1] essay: it's a terrible translation (supposedly based on Alan Bass's University of Chicago Press) with glaring errors. Example: it has "supplementarily" used for "supplementarity." (I informed site on this but haven't heard back.)

M. Cameron Boyd

Whining, Expectations

I am not sure about the whining I read on the discussion. The fact of the matter is that Post-Structuralism is not a SIMPLE concept to get in a quickie 1 minute reading. It is complicated and nuanced. There isn't much people can do but attempt to boil down certain central ideas and post them on the wiki page.

We really shouldn't expect too much, although having high expectations are good. If you want a REAL understanding of post-structuralism, you need to actually go back and read the philosopher's work.

Gautam Discuss 19:24, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

I don't think it is "whining" to expect an article in Wikipedia to be intelligible to the layperson. It should be an introduction with links to places where the reader can get further information. It is not the be-all it is a beginning. In that respect, I think it is a fair introduction. --Nwjerseyliz 14:31, 19 September 2007 (UTC)


So "of the philosophers associated with post-structuralism none have ever identified with post-modernism." but "very few people have willingly accepted the label 'post-structuralist'" If someone identifies with neither, and is associated with both, it doesn't seem to make sense to set them as one and not the other without more concrete analysis. As it stands, the situation is reciprocal. People 'associated' with postmodernism have also not identified as post-structuralist, and these are very frequently the same people associated with poststructuralism and not identifying with postmodernism. If we want to deliniate the two, we'll need to do better. Additionally, "Authors who study post-modernism, such as Jean-François Lyotard, describe post-modernism as a condition of the present state of culture," seems to be confusing postmodernism as postmodernity, which are two separate things. (talk) 21:31, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

And does anyone find it a bit retarded that they mention "of the philosophers associated with post-structuralism, none have ever identified with post-modernism" then citing Lyotard as related to postmodernism while he is in the list of "often said to be post-structuralists, or to have had a post-structuralist period"...additionally with Baudrillard and Jameson (at the least) whom i'm sure there is an identification with their work and postmodernism. -MW —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:57, 14 March 2008 (UTC)


1. Structuralism refers both to an agglutination of thinkers who adapted Saussure's lexicon and methodology to their own fields of interest, and to the methods themselves. These thinkers include Claude Lévi-Strauss, Roland Barthes, Jacques Lacan, Louis Althusser, and arguably Michel Foucault. They all differ radically from each other, but they all typically make use of Saussurean notions, such as the sign, value (difference), and synchronic systems, and also tend to be proponents of antihumanism. This movement is intricately tied to semiology.

2. Poststructuralism is a term coined by American academics that groups together a collection of heterogeneous thinkers who they were interested in and perceived to be radical rejectors of structuralism who still carry some of its fundamental assumptions. Obviously, because of its heterogeneous nature, it can be confusing to newcomers. Furthermore, whether the term is useful is questionable. For Americans began to use it when structuralism was just stretching its legs, and structuralists were themselves teasing out its limitations. Jacques Derrida, for example, whose deconstruction is commonly classed as poststructural, was quite amused and critical when he first heard the term, even though he called himself a structuralist and anti-structuralist.

3. Postmodernity refers to a state of western civilization that comes after modernism. It is not a philosophical movement, but something philosophers, critical theorists, and cultural theorists examine. The two most well known examiners are arguably Lyotard and Baudrillard.

4. Postmodernism is a term I find somewhat difficult to use in philosophy, unlike in architecture and literature. But basically, in the most abstract sense possible, if a school of thought is considered modernist, the reactionary schools that follow will be termed postmodernist.

--Le vin blanc (talk) 12:09, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

French vs. American Perspective

Shouldn't it be noted somewhere that poststructuralism as a concept is largely an American invention based on a very selective reception and very culture-based readings of French philosophy? In France, the term is only very rarely used and the Philosophers it refers to are not seen as a coherent group at all. I believe that François Cusset: French Theory. La Découverte, 2003 makes a very convincing argument in this sense and there should be a reference to it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Esterhasz (talkcontribs) 07:33, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

Why is there no "criticism" section?

An article on a philosophical school of this size must include a criticisms section. Major detractors and their views should be listed. I don't know enough about it to write it myself. Kwertii (talk) 23:33, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

I second that. Actually, I'd say the article needs a substantial "outside view of post-structuralism" section. Isn't it a bit naive to expect a philosophy based on refuting the very possibility of a "clear definition" to provide itself with one? Alan Sokal might be a good place to start. Or a comparison with the concept of "Cognitive relativism". As it currently stands, the article is... Well, Meta-NPOV. It might not extol the virtues of post-structuralism, but by using the typically muddled, circular language of said school, it renders the very article an example of it. Yeah, I know the response to that is "so go ahead and improve it", but frankly I detest the very concept of PS and its effects on contemporary culture. I won't be able to write anything remotely NPOV, and am not one for edit wars. (talk) 17:33, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
"The writing style of this particular article is still pointless and futile. There is a reason post-structuralism is the laughing stock of philosophy, and its because its crazed adherents are unable to communicate in their native language". In my humble opinion, this previous judgement on here sums it all. Giordaano (talk) 13:30, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Merge with Post-structuralist narrative theory

The Post-structuralist narrative theory article does not present sufficient information to stand individually. As it is a subconcept of post-structuralism, it should be merged into this article. Neelix (talk) 20:36, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

merge closed, i redirected the former to this, there was no content there that is not here. --Buridan (talk) 03:39, 17 February 2009 (UTC)


All those of you watching this page, please come and have a look at linguistics. There is a gross misrepresentation and censorship taking place there. Post-structural linguistics has been deleted and censored by the community there, and I urge you to participate in the discussion to restore a balanced view for the article. Supriya 13:07, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

Why the dash in title?

Why is it written "post-structuralism" and not "poststructuralism." The latter is yields nearly twice as many ghits, and the other articles (like postmodernism etc.) don't have dashes. --TheSoundAndTheFury (talk) 14:05, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

Do I have permission to change the name of the article to "poststructuralism," then? I will ask a few more experienced editors. --TheSoundAndTheFury (talk) 01:52, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

I have checked in with some other editors I have interacted with before, and I hope they will share some thoughts. If there is some heavy-lifting involved in changing other instances of it, I would take responsibility for that. --TheSoundAndTheFury (talk) 01:57, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

I think the term has currency enough without the hyphen. csloat (talk) 17:52, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

So what is the process of changing it? Is there a list of pages where the word is linked, or can I automate that process? Or will all the links that now say post-structuralism be automatically routed into poststructuralism? --TheSoundAndTheFury (talk) 02:14, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

The easy part is you click the "move" tab next to "history" on the page. The hard part is dealing with all the links, of course -- see some help here. csloat (talk) 07:30, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

Excellent, thank you. I will investigate this when I have more time. I have another question for you on the Foucault page. --TheSoundAndTheFury (talk) 14:47, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

Forget about the title. The lead is a jargon-heavy mess, and much of the article lacks sources and clear development of ideas. Those are what need to be fixed first. Zujine (talk) 10:12, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Requested move

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Opposed, page not moved  Ronhjones  (Talk) 23:09, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Post-structuralismPoststructuralism — As evidenced by a Google search, of books, scholar, and regular, the proposed name is far more common; this is in accordance with the guidelines. The Sound and the Fury (talk) 13:42, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

Unfortunatley, the criterion you propose does not support the proposition. The results for a google search of "poststructuralism" include results that give "post-structuralism". If placed in quotation marks to attempt to limit the search, the results are comparable. DionysosProteus (talk) 14:12, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

Indeed, I may have made a mistake earlier, but not much of one.
Source "poststructuralism" "post-structuralism"
Regular google 239,000[2] 200,000[3]
google books 69,000[4] 69,500[5]
google scholar 25,300[6] 23,200[7]
Further to this, please add the reason that "postmodernism" does not have a dash. There are probably more that don't have dashes, I can find out. These are my two reasons for now. Please let me know if you find it inadequate; the people above seem supportive. The Sound and the Fury (talk) 15:23, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

With regard to the data you've presented above, something a little odd is happening. When I checked the three googles, they were all more or less equal, but books preferred the hyphen while the other two did not. This differs from the figures you've given. So I've just followed the link you provided, which gives yet another set of figures when I follow it: for books, 56,200 for no hyphen and 68,300 with hyphen.

I would suggest that for Wikipedia it is a question of most-common practice. In my experience, the two terms are usually rendered as "post-structuralism" and "postmodernism". The "post-structuralism" is in line with "post-colonialism", "post-marxism", "post-industrial", etc., although it's certainly possible to find plenty of uses that omit the hypen or that include it for postmodernism and its related terms (postmodern, postmodernist). I would suggest that google searches are of dubious value in settling the matter. Rather, I suggest that we consult a range of reliable sources similiar in nature to the Wikipedia project - i.e., how do dictionaries and encyclopedias of literary/cultural and philosophical terms render the name most-commonly? In lieu of that research, I propose that the article remain where it is currently.

Having only popped by the page to clarify a detail for myself today, I have to echo Zujine's sentiment - the article has a great many problems that are far more important that the hyphen. Quite apart from content, the lack of inline citations throughout renders what is there of dubious credibility. I don't recognise the descriptions of much of the content either. DionysosProteus (talk) 15:40, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

I think the problem you are encountering with Google is that it depends where you are when you do the search. Google appears to give different results if, for example, you access it in the United States, than if you access it in Scotland or Australia. Skinsmoke (talk) 00:29, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Then let us can the idea of changing the name. I can accept the counter-arguments that have been presented. The article itself is still rather woeful, as Zujine points out. The lead and other parts of it need to be rewritten according to 'outsider' sources, if it could be put that way.

Adopting the lexicon and assumptions of post-structuralist thinkers in describing post-structuralist thinkers is a recipe for incomprehension. I know of some critics in conservative intellectual journals who have attempted this; it may be worth their input, in part. The Sound and the Fury (talk) 03:54, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

I agree with leaving it as is. The hyphen in "post-structuralism" makes it significant easier to parse visually than "poststructuralism" is. Beyond My Ken (talk) 09:30, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.
Return to "Post-structuralism/Archive 1" page.