Post-structuralism is a label formulated by American academics to denote the heterogeneous works of a series of mid-20th-century French and continental philosophers and critical theorists who came to international prominence in the 1960s and '70s. A major theme of post structuralism is instability in the human sciences, due to the complexity of humans themselves and the impossibility of fully escaping structures in order to study them.
Post-structuralism is a response to structuralism. Structuralism is an intellectual movement developed in Europe from the early to mid-20th century. It argued that human culture may be understood by means of a structure modeled on language (i.e., structural linguistics) that differs from concrete reality and from abstract ideas a "third order" that mediates between the two. Post-Structuralists authors all present different critiques of structuralism, but common themes include the rejection of the self-sufficiency of the structures that structuralism posits and an interrogation of the binary oppositions that constitute those structures. Writers whose work is often characterized as post-Structuralists include Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, Judith Butler, Jacques Lacan, Jean Baudrillard, and Julia Kristeva, although many theorists who have been called "post-Structuralists" have rejected the label.
Structuralism accuse the post-structuralism for not following through the implications of the views on language on which their intellectual systems are based. Structuralism holds that the language not really reflects and records the world but it shapes.Post structuralism opposes this view saying that we are entering into a world of absolute uncertainty because man has no access to anything that is beyond linguistic processing and theorist standard to measure anything. The fixed intellectual reference points are permanently renewed by properly taking on board what structuralism said about language. So post Structuralists anxiety over language is important to know their concern. They say that the urge for language leads to go beyond in our traction and may cause confusion. It can express things we did not intent. The filler words like " I mean " etc. shows that the linguistic urge is not in our control always. To understand post-structuralism basic knowledge of structuralism and language (deviation towards structuralism) they criticize Structuralists conviction. Language is a system of rules but not applied to any other systems. Structuralists believe in common stable meaning.post structuralism do not deviates from this. Sign stand its own. Meaning is arbitrary, language is not natural fixed signifier- structuralism . Post structuralism subvert the notion of structuralism.
· Classroom discussions and the lecture
(Notes of the lecture delivered on 10 December 2013 by Ass.Prof.Vijayaganesh prepared by Ani Mariam Philip)