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Tredinnick (2006, p. 173):

”Post-structuralism is so called in recognition of its relationship with the structuralist movement that preceded it. The leading writers of this movement, Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, Julia Kristeva, Jaques Derrida and Gérard Genette, came out of the same French intellectual scene that had fermented structuralism”.

Post-structuralism is a late-twentieth-century development in philosophy and literary theory, particularly associated with the work of Jacques Derrida and his followers. It originated as a reaction against structuralism, which first emerged in Ferdinand de Saussure’s work on linguistics, but was broadly adapted in the human sciences by the 1950s. Post-structuralist critiques of structuralism typically challenge the assumption that systems are self-sufficient structures and question the possibility of the precise definitions on which systems of knowledge must be based.

Derrida carries out his critique of structuralist systems by the technique of deconstruction. This is the process of showing, through close textual and conceptual analysis, how definitions of fundamental concepts (for example, presence versus absence, true versus false) are undermined by the very effort to formulate and employ them.

In Library and Information Science poststructuralism has been discussed by, among others, Day (1996, 2005), Radford (1998), Radford & Radford (2005) and Tredinnick (2006, 2007).


Day, Ronald E. (2005). Poststructuralism and Information Studies. Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, 39, 575-609.

Ekegren, P. (1999). The Reading of Theoretical Texts. A Critique of Criticism in the Social Sciences. London: Routledge. (Routledge Studies in Social and Political Thought, 19). Based on a dissertation: The Reading of Theoretical Texts. A Critique of Criticism in the Social Sciences. Uppsala University: Department of Sociology, 1995.

Foucault, Michel (1967). Madness and civilization: a history of insanity in the Age of Reason. London: Tavistock Publications. (Translated from: Folie et deraison ; histoire de la folie a l'age classique. Paris: Plon, 1961).

Foucault, Michel (1970). The order of things; an archaeology of the human sciences. London: Tavistock Publications. (Translated from "Les mots et les choses; une archéologie des sciences humaines". Paris, Gallimard, 1966)

Foucault, Michel (1972). The archaeology of knowledge. New York, Pantheon Books. (Translated from the French by A. M. Sheridan Smith from: "L'archeologie du savoir". Paris: Gallimard, 1969).

Foucault, Michel (1973). The birth of the clinic; an archaeology of medical perception. New York: Pantheon. (Translated from the French by A. M. Sheridan Smith from "Naissance de la clinique; une archeologie du regard medical. Paris, Presses universitaires de France, 1963).

Foucault, Michel (1976). Mental illness and psychology. New York: Harper & Row, (Translated by Alan Sheridan from "Maladie mentale et psychologie" Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 3.ed. 1966)

Foucault, Michel (1977). Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison. Trans. Alan Sheridan. New York: Vintage.(Translation of: Surveiller et punir; naissance de la prison. [Paris] : Gallimard, 1975).

Foucault, Michel (1978): The history of sexuality vol. 1-3. New York: Pantheon Books. (Vol. 1. An introduction. Vol. 2. The use of pleasure. Vol. 3. The care of the self.) (Translation from: "Histoire de la sexualité". Paris: Gallimard, 1976. 1. La volonté de savoir. 2. L'usage des plaisirs. 3. Le souci de soi.)

Gare, A. (2001). The roots of postmodernism: Schelling, process philosophy and poststructuralism. IN: C. Keller and A. Daniell (Eds.): Process and difference: between cosmological and poststructuralist postmodernisms (pp. 31-53). New York: State University of New York.

Gutting, G. (1998). Post-structuralism IN: Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Version 1.0, London: Routledge.

Kristeva, Julia. (1980). Desire in Language: A Semiotic Approach to Literature and Art. New York: Columbia University Press.

Radford, G. P. & Radford, M. (2005). Structuralism, post-structuralism, and the library: de Saussure and Foucault. Journal of Documentation, 61(1), 60-78.

Tredinnick, L. (2006). Digital information and post-structuralism. Chapter seven, pp. 173-231 in: Tredinnick, L.: Digital information contexts: Theoretical approaches to understanding digital information. Oxford, UK: Chandos Publishing.

Tredinnick, L. (2007). Post-structuralism, hypertext, and the World Wide Web. Aslib Proceedings, 59(2), 169-186.

Entry Added: August 22, 2007
Last Update: August 22, 2007