Here is a surprisingly edifying and entertaining synopsis of structuralism. I particularly like how Prof. Louis Markos connects Saussure’s work to the “proto-structuralism” of Freud and Marx. Also enjoyable is Markos’ mini-rant, in light of Wes’s recent post:
Structures are found in all areas of thought and study, from history to linguistics, psychology to anthropology.
Structuralism as a method is interdisciplinary, and structuralism seeks to re-found even the humanities on a more objective, scientific base. Structuralism, again, crosses all…disciplinary boundaries.
Now, a lot of you may not realize this, but let me give you an example of how structuralism has impacted our academy. 100 years ago, history was considered one of the humanities, and I believe that’s where it belongs. But today, what is it? A social science. Psychology, which I believe also should be a humanity, or at least, a social science, is often considered now to be a natural science.
What’s happening? All of our disciplines, and I think this is bad, but…all of our disciplines are running to science. It’s almost as if we want to take the human element out of the humanities. But, remember: structuralism is deterministic, rather than humanistic. It wants to take all the disciplines, including the humanities…theology, literature…all the humanities, it wants to take them and re-found them…turn them into a structure that is mathematical, logical, and scientific.