26 September 2015
Claude Levi Strauss
THE ORIGINS OF STRUCTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY
Structural analysis, at its core, is an attempt to comprehend things beyond the system of human understanding. It’s meant to be an objective, purely scientific approach untarnished by human cultural and social systems. Claude Lévi-Strauss saw this pure science being applied in linguistics, among the social sciences, and applied its objective principles and methods to anthropology. Structural linguistics is a method of analyzing languages, broken down into signs, both syntactically and lexically. Signs, in a structural context, are associations between concepts and means of expressing those concepts. Comparing opposed syntagma and signs in this exploded arrangement permits understanding of linguistic associations (syntax, etc.). By examining the paradigmatic relations between signs, and diachronic syntagmatic configurations (something Lévi-Strauss applied heavily in his theories about structural mythology), a basic objective understanding of the langue in question can be gleaned from examples of its verbiage.
Ferdinand de Saussure, the linguist who explained language as a structure of signs, developed his ideal method of a purely analytical science of linguistics in part because he was aware of the impossibility of understanding exactly how the human mind creates and understands language. By approaching language from a structuralist point of view, he was attempting to
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Structural Functionalism aims to understand society in an objective way. It views society as an entity that is “objectively real”. It emphasizes the unity of society, and how individuals perform roles and how these roles are vital in meeting the needs of the collective whole. For instance, because every society has stratification, stratification must have certain functions and these functions can contribute to the survival of the social system as a whole. Furthermore, structural
Anthropologists also have various theories to help support and direct a study. One such theory attributed to Alfred Radcliffe Brown of Great Britain is known as structural functionalism (Clure, 2011). The primary focus of structural functionalism theory is social structure rather than the biological relations of individuals in a culture. The social construction and levels of this theory
Language corresponds to countless appellations, as the expresser of thought and ultimate origin of philosophy, influencing the world of knowledge with its astonishing qualities. The very essence of cooperation and communication relies eternally on the inspired art of language, without which any possible human development could occur. Furthermore, the perception of verbal communication splits between two realms, reality and literature, constituting two linguistic variations, figurative and literal. Throughout the world of literature, figurative language adds depth and dimension to
Since creativity allows language to differentiate from place to place, the differences in language have somehow gradually aligned in a hierarchy due to social influence. In “Nine Ideas about Language”, Daniels not only addresses that
Structural-functionalism is described in the text as a theory that is based on society being a complex system in which its parts need to work together to maintain order (p. 15). The article demonstrates this by discussing how both science and religion are required in the modern world. It states that even though both religion and science were misconstrued to battle against each other in the past, they both hold “important but different truths” (p. 497). The article also acknowledges the theory by suggesting that although we are rushing into
Structural Functionalism is defined as, “a society which is a whole unit made up of interrelated parts that work together” and “ its society as a living organism/ machine that has multiple organs and parts and people to fulfill their individual functions; working together to make it happen ” (Henslin 2015, Smith 2017).
Claude Lévi-Strauss a well-known French anthropologist and ethnologist whom was known for his structuralism and structural anthropology. He was also known as the “father of modern anthropology.” Lévi-Strauss was born November 28, 1908 in Brussels, Belgium. On October 31, 2009 in Paris, he died at the age of 100. Coming from a Jewish family, his father was Raymond and mother was Emma Lévi-Strauss. Most of his childhood years he lived in Paris, where his father became a portrait painter that eventually filed bankruptcy. Lévi-Strauss was not the only person in his family that was well known for his inspirations to society. He was also the great-grandson of a music conductor who worked with Duke Louis Philippe and Napoleon III.
Saussure furthermore identified two parts to a basic linguistic unit: the concept and the sound image. The sound image or 'signified' is the image that imprints on your mind at the sound or thought of the word. The 'signifier' is the word that produces this image, whether it is spoken, written or a pictorial equivalent. The 'sign' is the combination and relationship between the 'signifier' and the 'signified'. To explain, whatever the language in which the word 'cat' is spoken (signifier), to a member of that nationality the word will instantly conjure up the idea of a cat (signified). However Saussure stressed that the relationship between the two is strictly arbitrary, they are bound purely by convention
The Structural-Functional perspective is the theory that sees society as a complex system. Each of these complex parts work together to create stability and solidarity.
BA#3 “Lost in Translation” by Lera Boroditsky is aimed at persuading the audience that meaning changes from language to language due the different structures within those languages. The most likely audience are a more technical type of people who are interested in philosophy, want to learn a new language, and, or are already multilingual. Borodisky anticipates the objection of “just because people talk differently doesn't necessarily mean they think differently” by pointing out that “in the past decade, cognitive scientists have begun to measure not just how people talk . . . [and] ask whether our understanding of even such fundamental domains of experience as space, time and causality could be constructed by language.”
Structural Functionalism is a paradigm based on the assumption that society is a unified whole that functions because of the contributions of its separate structures (Ferris and Stein
Linguistics has impacted cognitive psychology as the quest to understand language acquisition and the structure of language itself is undertaken. Linguistics is a complex and multifaceted; it includes language structural patterns and language development (Barsalou, 2005). The process of language development is complicated and dense, as the study of language is examined; the role of cognition is inherently examined and analyzed. Sternberg (2006) also explores language as an innate process and presents the idea that humans are born ready for language as a biological and cognitive process.
Basically, Structuralism was firstly set up in Europe by Ferdinand de Saussure, a structural linguist. It is a kind of methodology which discusses hat elements of human culture must be understood in terms of their relationship to a larger, overarching system or structure. It works to uncover the structures that underlie all the things that humans do, think, perceive, and feel. In fact, structuralism is aimed to find the inner structure logic behind millions of words. In literary, structuralism the narrative dimension of literary texts because Structuralism Criticism deals mainly with narrative.(Tyson, 219)
He seeks to find underlying similarities across these “distinct” languages, to construct a general theory of a singular language. However, it seems as though he cannot be scientifically vindicated without the groundwork being laid down by many of the authors that he is critical of. Thus, it is particularly interesting that Chomsky seems to be so at odds with the idea of descriptivism. When Chomsky says, “Grammar should not be merely a record of the data of usage, but, rather, should offer an explanation for such data,” (587) he is acknowledging the usefulness, presumably to his own theories, of descriptive linguistics. He in fact recognizes the debt he owes when he says, “To me, it seems that [structural linguistics'] major achievement is to have provided a factual and a methodological basis that makes it possible to return to the problems that occupied the traditional universal grammarians...” (590) But he goes on to say, “On the other hand, it seems to me that the substantive contributions to the theory of language structure are few, and that, to a large extent, the concepts of modern linguistics constitute a retrogression as compared with universal grammar.” (590) Where the descriptivists see an end, Chomsky sees only the means, and is somewhat dismissive of them.