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Poststructuralism

  • By: Aaron Gilbreath
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Though not always easily defined or clearly separated from postmodernism, poststructuralism was a groundbreaking shift in epistemology that occurred throughout the social sciences beginning in the late 1960s. It can be generalized as a system of thought that rejects the possibility of a single knowable “truth” by acknowledging a multiplicity of meanings that are constantly in the process of being created and changed. Poststructuralism, furthermore, emphasizes the power of discourse to create reality and inscribe subjects and uses this knowledge to create politically active theory and research. This entry discusses the origins of poststructuralism and the ways in which geographers have used poststructural theory.

Origins of Poststructuralism

Poststructuralism emerged in continental philosophy in the 1960s as a response to structuralist theories. Structuralism began as a linguistic theory ...

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