What is Post-structuralism (Poststructuralism)?

What is Post-structuralism (Poststructuralism)?

June 29, 2021 Off By Felso

The term post-structuralism refers to a common philosophical plane or framework in which a series of extremely important criticisms against structuralism are articulated, as can be understood from the “post” denoted by the “post” prefix it contains. A great part of the critical vein of the poststructuralism approach has undoubtedly been articulated and grounded by the greatest philosophers of recent times, Derrida, Foucault, Deleuze, Lacan and Lyotard.


Post-structuralist philosophy is more than just a philosophical position, it is a common thinking plane where many disciplines come together from linguistics to literary theory, from sociology to anthropology, from psychology to semiotics. As a matter of fact, one of the main arguments of post-structuralist philosophy is to create a new interdisciplinary and even transdisciplinary discourse possibility by dissolving and destroying the boundaries between disciplines, especially philosophy.

In the post-structuralist understanding of philosophy, the aim of making explicit or implicit assumptions, which are thought to be unproblematic, and making them a problem, has a very important place, especially during the effort to ground the knowledge seen in philosophical texts in systematic ways. From this point of view, an important part of post-structuralist philosophy is a philosophy of meaning, language or text, which is aimed at questioning how the meanings created in the texts are created by the authors or the readers.

Jacques Derrida

Derrida, one of the foremost thinkers of post-structuralist philosophy, is known as deconstructionism for the researches he carried out in order to find the essential structure of knowledge and reality at the expense of transgressing the limits of human thought or existence of the entire Western philosophy tradition, especially following the original vein of critical thought initiated by Nietzsche and Heidegger. It offers comprehensive critical reading.

The most important emphasis of Derrida’s deconstructive criticism, which consists of a series of critical readings, is the “critique of self-centeredness”. According to Derrida, all classical Philosophical texts, from Plato to Husserl, are based on some hierarchical dualities (being/nothing, reality/appearance, speech/writing), and that the first term in these dualities is in any case more solid and unfailingly correct. points out that it is seen as a reliable support to fulfill the function of being the Archimedes Point for all thought systems.

By following various strategies in his deconstructive readings, Derrida aims to reveal the unconsciously unspoken aspects of classical philosophy texts and to collapse the dualistic structure on which the text is built. Accordingly, it is shown that the distinctions that are consistent and logical at first reading in the text are actually inconsistent and illogical in themselves.


In the deconstructive approach, meaning is what is left out of the text or ignored by the text and kept silent. As a matter of fact, just because deconstructionism is to challenge the existence of theories and conceptual systems, both Derrida and those who follow his path approach logical definitions, rational justifications, philosophical reasonings more carefully, instead of these the discursive and non-linear aspects of the text, the word plays and rhetorical elements expressed in the text. they are highlighting.

In this context, one of the main programs of deconstructionism is to trace how and in what ways texts refer to other texts, depending on the determination that texts can only refer to other texts and not to facts or things in the real world. Derrida expresses the thought that is based on this basic curriculum with the sentence “There is nothing but the text outside the text”.


Structuralism, as it is known, is an understanding of philosophy whose framework was established by the thoughts put forward by the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure in his lectures published by his students under the title Lectures on General Linguistics after his death. Saussure, who completely denies the correctness of the traditional “representative” or “reflective” understanding of language, instead develops a “formal” understanding of language. Accordingly, language is neither based on the correspondence relationship between physical objects and words, nor is the meaning formed through some entities (thoughts) assumed to be in the mind. In Saussure’s structuralist language approach, both “signifiers” (sounds and signs) and “signifieds” (thoughts) acquire their meanings in accordance with the formal structure of the particular language system to which they belong. The formal structure mentioned here corresponds to the system of identities and distinctions established between all kinds of linguistic elements, sounds on the one hand and thoughts on the other.

Saussure identifies language with this formal structure, identifying how language actually works.