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Some Elements of Structuralism and its Application to Literary Theory
|Jazyk:||Počet slov:||3 193|
|Referát vhodný pre:||Stredná odborná škola||Počet A4:||10.7|
|Priemerná známka:||2.95||Rýchle čítanie:||17m 50s|
|Pomalé čítanie:||26m 45s|
Structuralism enables both the reading of texts and the reading of cultures: through semiotics, structuralism leads us to see everything as 'textual', that is, composed of signs, governed by conventions of meaning, ordered according to a pattern of relationships. 2. Structuralism enables us to approach texts historically or trans-culturally in a disciplined way. Whenever we have to look more objectively, when we are transversing barriers of time, say, or of culture or interest, then the structural method, the search for principles of order, coherence and meaning, become dominant. 3. This sort of study opens up for serious cultural analysis texts which had hitherto been closed to such study because they did not conform to the rules of literature, hence were not literature but 'popular writing' or 'private writing' or 'history' and so forth. When the rules of literary meaning are seen as just another set of rules for a signifying arena of a culture, then literature loses some aspects of its privileged status, but gains in the strength and cogency of its relationship to other areas of signification. Hence literary study has expanded to the study of textuality, popular writing has been opened up to serious study, and the grounds for the relationship between the meaning-conventions of literature and the way in which a culture imagines reality have been set, and we can speak more clearly of the relation of literary to cultural (or, 'human', or 'every-day') meanings. 4. As everything that can be known, can be known by virtue of its belonging to a signifying system, then everything can be spoken of as being textual. a. All documents can be studied as texts -- for instance, history or sociology can be analyzed the way literature can be. b. All of culture can be studied as text. Anthropology, among other fields, is revolutionized through ethnography; qualitative rather than quantitative study becomes more and more the norm in many areas of social science. c. Belief-systems can be studied textually and their role in constructing the nature of the self understood.
5. Consequently much greater attention is paid to the nature of language-use in culture. Language-use relating to various social topics or areas of engagement has become known as "discourse." Although "discourse" is a term more prevalent in post-structuralist thinking, it is of its nature a structuralist development. III. Structuralism and literature
See my summary of Gerard Genette's "Structuralism and Literary Criticism" for more ideas. 1. In extending the range of the textual we have not decreased the complexity or meaning-power of literature but have in fact increased it, both in its textual and in its cultural meaningfulness.