French Structuralism: The Concept Of Language And French Structuralism

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Poststructuralism was derived to confront a different theory, structuralism, which was a dominant theory in Central Europe and America during the twentieth century. Structuralism emphasizes that there is forces in social live, which are created out of human activity but stand outside of human agency or intervention (Pg 393). There were different versions of structuralism, one that derived from France, which put great emphasis on language. Structural functionalism accentuates human social organization at the level of institutions, whereas French structuralism emphasizes the role that language plays in the organization of systems. French institutionalism looks at how language provides organization for human communication and other characteristics of human life.
French structuralism has direct ties with Ferdinand de Saussure who established the concept of semiotics. Semiotics is the study of signs, like those that humans use to express meaning. Saussure distinguished the difference between language and speech. He used this distinction do create and define the term sign. Saussure understood a sign is something that is designated to represent a specific object. So anything that carries meaning can be considered a
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Poststructuralism was developed in critique of semiotic model that Saussure created. Poststructuralists are doubtful about the shared meanings of signs. They argue that the universal understanding of signs is actually fragmented. There are no signs, but there are “floating signifiers” which mean there is not connection between signified and signifier, so signs have collapsed and become disjointed. Poststructuralists do not believe in the organization of signs and see the sociocultural world as broken, with no clear patterns. Poststructuralists base the social world on the idea that the patterns that are found in social life are not permanent because they are
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