Poststructuralism is a way of engaging knowledge, language, history, and culture that primarily encompasses the intellectual developments of certain mid-20th-century French and Continental philosophers and theorists. Because the movement is more a strategy of deconstruction and critique than a cohesive theory, it is difficult to summarize. However, poststructuralism may be broadly understood as a body of distinct responses to the empiricism, positivism, and totalizing analogies of structuralism, which argues that all elements of human culture must be understood in terms of their relationship to a larger, overarching system or structure. The precise nature of the revision or critique of structuralism differs with each poststructural theorist, though common themes include the rejection of the self-sufficiency of structures, an interrogation of the binary oppositions that constitute those ...

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