Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A method of analyzing phenomena, as in anthropology, linguistics, psychology, or literature, chiefly characterized by contrasting the elemental structures of the phenomena in a system of binary opposition.
  • n. A school that advocates and employs such a method.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A theory of sociology that views elements of society as part of a cohesive, self-supporting structure.
  • n. A school of biological thought that deals with the law-like behaviour of the structure of organisms and how it can change, emphasising that organisms are wholes, and therefore that change in one part must necessarily take into account the inter-connected nature of the entire organism.
  • n. The theory that a human language is a self-contained structure related to other elements which make up its existence.
  • n. A school of thought that focuses on exploring the individual elements of consciousness, how they are organized into more complex experiences, and how these mental phenomena correlate with physical events.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an anthropological theory that there are unobservable social structures that generate observable social phenomena
  • n. linguistics defined as the analysis of formal structures in a text or discourse
  • n. a sociological theory based on the premise that society comes before individuals

Etymologies

structural +‎ -ism. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Throw in structuralism and things start to get really weird where the final divorce papers from the analysis of texts arrive.

    Modernism Schmodernism « We Don't Count Your Own Visits To Your Blog

  • By closely reading the famous poem "The Star" by Jane Taylor, this essay delineates some of the poetic forms involved in the inscription of environmental awareness, such as minimalism, and the foregrounding of what in structuralism is called the "contact" or medium of communication.

    Abstracts

  • It seems then that, once adopted, it is not be called structuralism at all!

    Structural Realism

  • I was thinking of returning to graduate school; I asked a friend who had recently finished his PhD at a good program in the Northeast and who has since earned a reputation for himself in Victorian studies for an introductory list of titles on structuralism, which is what literary theory was called at the time.

    Archive 2008-12-01

  • So in a twist typical of Deleuze, a twist in which the form of his thought maps its content, we're not trying to “recognize” structuralism, that is, produce a finite set of necessary and sufficient conditions so that we can judge something as falling within the category of

    Gilles Deleuze

  • In the 1960s a new school of thought, known as structuralism, rose to challenge this view (See Nov. 3).

    2. Religious and Philosophical Thought

  • But in the late Sixties there was an explosion of so-called structuralism in

    Telegraph.co.uk: news, business, sport, the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Sunday Telegraph

  • It is a feast for the senses and, paired with Gehr's criminally underseen 1976 masterwork Table, reaffirmed the purely aesthetic pleasures to be gleaned from Gehr's so-called structuralism of the 70s.

    GreenCine Daily

  • I don't mean what used to be called structuralism, but the ability to identify the focus in a text, to anatomize its structure, to examine how effectively the elements are organized in that structure, to comment with authority on metaphor and the use of other rhetorical devices.

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  • Where postmodernism critiques modernity, poststructuralism critiques structuralism, which is to say a constellation of anthropological and literary theories that claim that all human behaviour obeys certain scientific laws.

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