Poststructuralism could be defined as an approach to knowledge that appeared in the social sciences during the 1960s to 70s as a reaction to or outgrowth of structuralism.
The term poststructuralism was chic within academic circles during the mid-1980s to early-90s, after which time ‘postmodernism’ became the trendy term, aided perhaps by figures like Jean Baudrillard who made headline-grabbing comments about America’s involvement in the Gulf War.
In its heyday, the term poststructuralism generally contained elements found in postmodernism but referred more to social theory and the history of ideas rather than to art, music and architecture—these applying more to postmodernism.
Postmodernism being the broader term, it includes questions posed by poststructuralism.
Michel Foucault said he didn’t wish to be pigeonholed as any particular type of theorist, but academics in the 1980s often described his later work as poststructuralist. And several other theorists have resisted the label ‘poststructuralist.’
The distinction between poststructuralism and postmodernism arguably remains unclear because representative or designated thinkers of each orientation tend to eschew clear-cut, linear modes of reasoning, along with the notion of consistent theory. And they usually embrace the task of deconstructing the assumptions and practices associated with traditional approaches to knowledge.
With regard to structuralism, the poststructuralist/postmodern disputes the structuralist belief in universal patterns comprised of binary opposites.
The meaning of the term poststructuralism continues to evolve, especially with the turn to integrating spirituality within a poststructural paradigm, or lack of one.
With the arrival of the internet, broadband, dramatically increased computing power, and a dazzling array of software, digital media and mobile devices, some suggest that poststructuralism and postmodernism are yesterday’s news, these giving way to newer trends of ‘performatism‘¹ and ‘digimodernism.’²
However, this seems a bit rash. Have we really stopped deconstructing accepted (and acceptable) truth claims – i.e. thinking critically – in favor of playing with hypnotizing gizmos or, perhaps, escaping or being distracted through fake news, Facebook likes, and other superficial pursuits?
Let’s hope not.
Highlights by Liner http://lnr.li/VZq8J/