<history of philosophy, philosophical terminology> method of interpreting social phenomena in the context of a system of signs whose significance lies solely in the interrelationships among them. Initiated in the linguistics of Saussure and Chomsky, structuralism was applied to other disciplines by LÈvi-Strauss, Piaget, Althusser, Lacan, Barthes, Foucault, and Eco. Most structuralists share a conviction that individual human beings function solely as elements of the (often hidden) social networks to which they belong. Recommended Reading: Edith Kurzweil, The Age of Structuralism: From Levi-Strauss to Foucault (Transaction, 1996); Peter Caws, Structuralism: A Philosophy for the Human Sciences (Prometheus, 1997); Structuralism and Since: From Levi Strauss to Derrida, ed. by John Sturrock (Oxford, 1981); and Donald D. Palmer, Structuralism and Poststructuralism for Beginners (Writers & Readers, 2001).

[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]


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Nearby terms: strict evaluation « stroke function « strongly connected component « structuralism » structural recursion » structured analysis » structured design