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Structuralism

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

Structuralism was at first a theoretical stance and subsequently a movement in the social sciences and humanities, including geography. The origins of structuralism lie mainly in French thought dating from the period between World War I and World War II, although the underlying concepts of structure and system are much older. At first, structuralism was confined to the analysis of (usually nonphysical) social and cultural objects and events that convey meanings and perform functions of communication, and it examined these with a language model designed to analyze and determine their significance. Subsequently, it was also applied to the analysis of political systems, the organization of knowledge, and the structure and evolution of whole societies. Instead of seeking to explain these phenomena one by one, structuralism ...

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