Structuralism (Media Studies)

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  • A mode of inquiry emerging from application of the work of Ferdinand de Saussure to domains of meaning other than linguistic, notably the work of the anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss (Anthropologie structurale [Structural Anthropology, 1963] and La Pensée sauvage [The Savage Mind, 1968]). Lévi-Strauss's analysis of, for example, kinship relations or of food in terms of binary opposites such as “raw” and “cooked” laid bare all areas of social life to structural analysis. The contemporaneous works of Roland Barthes, Louis Althusser, and Jacques Lacan also apply structuralist principles to literature, political science, and psychology, respectively. Structuralist analysis was a radically leveling move, for objects of “high” culture yielded no more insights than those of popular or “low” culture; the very mystique of high culture could only ...

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