Item description for Structuralism and Poststructuralism For Beginners (For Beginners) by Donald D. Palmer...
Overview From the author of "Looking at Philosophy" and "Does the Center Hold?" comes an illustrated tour through the landscape of 20th-century thought--for readers who don't have time to study the topic in depth. Previously annotated in December 1995 "Advance" as "Structuralism for Beginners".
Publishers Description “In its less dramatic versions,” writes author Dan Palmer, “structuralism is just a method of studying language, society, and the works of artists and novelists. But in its most exuberant form, it is a philosophy, an overall worldview that provides an account of reality and knowledge.” Poststructuralism is a loosely knit intellectual movement, comprised mainly of ex-structuralists who either became dissatisfied with the theory or felt they could improve it. Structuralism and Poststructuralism For Beginners is an illustrated tour through the mysterious landscape of these two theories. The book's starting point is the linguistic theory of Ferdinand de Saussure. The book moves on to the anthropologist and literary critic Claude Levi-Strauss; the semiologist and literary critic Roland Barthes; the Marxist philosopher Louis Althusser; the psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan; the deconstructionist Jacques Derrida. The book concludes by examining the postmodern obsession with language and with the radical claim of the disappearance of the individual–obsessions that unite the work of all of these theorists.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.5" Width: 6" Height: 9" Weight: 0.58 lbs.
Release Date Aug 21, 2007
Publisher For Beginners
ISBN 1934389102 ISBN13 9781934389102
Availability 0 units.
More About Donald D. Palmer
Donald Palmer is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the college of Marin in Kentfield, California. Currently he is visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina. He is also author of: "Sartre for Beginners Structuralism and Poststructuralism For Beginners Looking at Philosophy," Mayfield Publishing Co. "Does the Center Hold?," Mayfield Publishing Co.
Reviews - What do customers think about Structuralism and Poststructuralism For Beginners (For Beginners)?
Easy Introduction to Difficult Topics Apr 7, 2003
"Structuralism" and "Poststructuralism" have become buzzwords, bandied about frequently but only rarely understood. The concepts are difficult, especially for someone who doesn't have a background in philosophy, linguistics, or social sciences. To make matters worse, many of the most famous and influential of the Poststructuralist thinkers revel in obscurity, deliberately making their writing as abtruse and convoluted as possible.
This is an excellent introduction to the concepts of Structuralism and Poststructuralism. Palmer studies a few of the most important scholars on the topic -- beginning with Saussure, the father of Structuralism and of modern linguistics and going on to Lacan, Foucault, Barthes, and Levi-Strauss. He touches upon their major contributions to the subject, giving explanations which can be grasped by any bright and interested layman.
If you are interested in studying these thinkers, I would definitely recommend checking out this book first. It will provide you with a good grounding and keep you from feeling utterly mystified as you plumb the murky and obscure depths of modern philosophy.
My only complaints are relatively minor. First, he makes a passing statement that Plato was "hardly bourgeois" ... when in fact Plato was quite clearly a bourgeois, even a reactionary, thinker. Second, the drawings are regrettable: Palmer is much better as a philosopher and writer than as an illustrator. Still, this is one of the best introductory texts available on the subject. Highly recommended.
Reliable but somewhat disappointing. Aug 30, 2001
This series, for the most part, appears to be attempting to fill a niche not covered by "Cliff's Notes" or the "Dummies" series. I had hoped for a reliable, intelligent representation of Structuralism/Post-structuralism along with the levity of humor. I was satisfied on the former account, but not the latter. The cartoons that are interspersed throughout the text are not well-drawn, humorous, or even instructive. Their function appears to be to provide enough blank space to allow the reader to slow down and digest a point before moving ahead to the next page. For the reader who is capable of close, careful, critical reading, any number of introductory texts to the field would serve as well as this. Try also the comprehensive volume, "An Incomplete Education," which gives you far more for the money.
Excellent, simple tying-together of major points Jul 10, 2000
I came to this book having read Derrida, Foucault, Saussure, etc, but not knowing about Structuralism as an -ism; just about the individual authors and their works.
This book helped me think of them as a unified movement, and aided me in finding commonalities in their works.
I imagine that this book would be even more useful for someone who hasn't read these authors; that way, you could get the general map before setting off into detailed inquiry (I did it in reverse!).
The explanations and illustrations are genuinely humorous, and the book is a lot of fun. Of course, as with any book of this type, many things are drastically oversimplified, and many things presented as facts are actually the author's opinions -- but that comes with the territory of attempting to sum up a whole philosophical movement in a short little text.
Overall, excellent in all regards, and a very worthwhile read, before or even after getting familiar with the original texts.
The Basics Mar 28, 2000
This book undoubtedly represents the basics for any inquiry into the major ideas of structuralism and poststructuralism. Palmer's exquisite, synthetic introduction into these socio-political and discursive phenomena is enlightening. He travels with us from the Swiss Ferdinand de Saussure's semiological system and the structuralist mythical order of the French/Belgian Claude Lévi-Strauss, to the post/structuralist Roland Barthes and Michel Foucault, Lacanian psychoanalysis, and, finally, to the master-poststructuralist, Jacques Derrida himself. Palmer's approach represents perhaps the easiest, albeit comprehensively explanatory, work into concepts otherwise unfairly considered esoteric postmodern artifacts. Nothing will give you a better first acquaintance to the "sign", "signifier", "signified", "la langue", "la parôle", "intertextuality", "indeterminacy of meaning", "writerly" and "readerly" texts, "deconstruction", "dissemination", "epistème", and "logocentrism" among others, than this pleasant, joyful (inter)text, filled with highly inspired sketches. The glossary at the end of the book is itself a treasure. Read this book in the bus, airplane, or train and (post) structuralism will become your friend. Don't let the detractors of postmodernism intimidate you. Palmer's book provides you with the best tool for fighting back, this time with knowledge.