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History of Structuralism

Structuralism has had a profound impact on disciplines ranging from literary theory to sociology, from history to psychoanalysis. Francois Dosse tells the story of structuralism's beginnings in postwar Paris to its culmination as a movement that would reconfigure French intellectual life and reverberate throughout the Western world. This essential guide is a cogent map of the dizzying array of personalities and ideas involved in the movement.
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In the first volume of this work, Dossé (director, Paris Center for Critical Studies) chronicles with superb documentation the development of the structuralist movement as it was propelled by such forces as Claude Lévi-Strauss (in anthropology), Jacque Lacan (in psychoanalysis), Michel Foucault (in literature and history), and many other French social scientists and humanists. Structuralism emerged as a reaction against the French university system's rigidity and refusal to accept, as philologist Leo Spitzer observed, Anglo-Saxon New Criticism and other didactic methodologies. Then it spread to other countries, for example, American universities' foreign language departments in the late Sixties. Dossé's unnecessarily tedious, long second volume, The Sign Sets, 1967-Present, succeeds only insofar as it demonstrates how structuralism during the Eighties was relegated to its proper place in the university curriculum as just another alternative methodology. Glassman's adept translation will prove useful to social science scholars and humanists.‘Robert T. Ivey, Univ. of Memphis, Tenn.

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