Peter Barry
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Post-structuralism and deconstruction
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This chapter begins with a discussion on some theoretical differences between structuralism and post-structuralism. Post-structuralism says, in effect, that fixed intellectual reference points are permanently removed by properly taking on board what structuralists said about language. The chapter lists some differences and distinctions between structuralism and post-structuralism under the four headings: origins, tone and style, attitude to language, and project. Post-structuralism emerged in France in the late 1960s. Two figures most closely associated with this emergence are Roland Barthes and Jacques Derrida. The chapter includes a STOP and THINK section presenting key texts from Derrida's book Of Grammatology. It provides a clear example of deconstructive practice, showing what is distinctive about it while at the same time suggesting that it may not constitute a complete break with more familiar forms of criticism. The chapter describes three stages of the deconstructive process: the verbal, the textual, and the linguistic.

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Beginning theory (fourth edition)

An introduction to literary and cultural theory


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