In This Chapter
- The structure of language
- The arbitrariness of signifiers
- How structuralism deals with historical change
- Roman Jakobson’s functional structuralism
- Culture as structure
One of many influential philosophies that took shape near the beginning of the twentieth century is structuralism. And the first structuralist was a Swiss philosopher and linguist named Ferdinand de Saussure (1857–1913), who said that we should regard language as a structure, independent of the things that it refers to.
This line of thinking led to some controversial ideas, not the least of which was that the individual is essentially a ...