Roland Barthes as a Cultural Theorist

French literary critic, Roland Barthes (1915-1980) was a key figure both in the development of structuralism — in particular in the application of techniques derived from semiology to the analysis of everyday life and popular (as well as high) culture — and in the post-structuralist criticism of structuralism. His work covers an enormous range of… Read More Roland Barthes as a Cultural Theorist

Roman Jakobson’s Contribution to Structuralism and Semiotics

One of the most distinguished thinkers in linguistics, philology and aesthetics, Jakobson was responsible for the development of semiotics as a critical practice. Since his work is extremely wide-ranging in scope, Jakobson’s contribution to semiotics and structuralism alone are discussed here. In the Jakobson model of communication (either oral or written) the following SIX constituent… Read More Roman Jakobson’s Contribution to Structuralism and Semiotics

Gerard Genette and Structural Narratology

The most important of the structural narratologists, Gerard Genette, has argued for the autonomous nature of the literary text. Genette’s work has been of particular use to literary critics for his  attempts to develop models of reading texts in a rigorously analytical manner. The analysis of narrative has been Genette’s abiding concern, as his voluminous… Read More Gerard Genette and Structural Narratology

Umberto Eco and the Semiotics

Eco proceeds from the Peircean assumption of “unlimited semiosis.” Though unlimited semiosis indicates that signs always refer to other signs (and that a text is open to infinite interpretations), Eco seeks a middle ground between univocal meaning and infinite meanings. For Eco unlimited semiosis is meaning established with reference to conditions of possibility. A univocal type… Read More Umberto Eco and the Semiotics

Julia Kristeva and the Semanalysis

Kristeva first came into prominence for her work on Bakhtin  Seeking to counter the “necrophilia”as (Kristeva called it) of phenomenology and structural linguistics, she suggested “semanalysis,” a portmanteau term derived from semiology (Saussure)and psychoanalysis (Freud) to address an element beyond language but in an extremely self-critical fashion, questioning its own suppositions and ideological gestures. With… Read More Julia Kristeva and the Semanalysis