Personal Stories

“It’s a Dog’s life.”

<a href="photo credit: MendezEnrique via photopin

*Original forum discussion to Structuralism and Post-Structuralism – American Pop Culture*

Structuralism is from the theoretical works from Ferdinand de Saussure.  The approach of texts and practices is a method of “analytics, not evaluative.”  (Storey, 2009)   This is in the context of the linguistics and divides language into two components.  Signifier i.e., the word and signified, which is the mental image or a concept of a word.  (Storey, 2009)  Post-Structuralism is a response to Structuralism, which rejects an idea that there is “essential form to a cultural product.” (wiseGEEK)  “It is both structural and temporal, with intertexual deferment of meaning.” (Storey, 2009) Basically, there are multiple meanings for a specific word of language.

In review of Saussure’s approach, the words “langue” and “parole” is discussed in detail.  A laymen explanation to “langue” (structure) is the rule of language.  A specific word has a specific meaning.   “Parole” (performance) is the individual use of how one uses language to describe meaning.  Take this another step further with using Saussure’s example of the word “Dog.”  The word “bitch” refers to a four-legged female dog, which is a signifier.  However this word can also be used as either a derogatory word to describe a female or it can be used as a phrase such as “life is a b****,” or “It’s a dog eat dog kind of day,” which is the definition of signified.

In choosing a text or practice in popular culture, social media is in the forefront of our ever-expanding and evolving culture.  If an individual did not have access being from information oppressed society, it is possible that utter confusion that would abound having access to it without any knowledge of the interworking of such sites.  A person would be bewildered to keep language (discourse) to 140 characters on Twitter, why cat photos are popular on Facebook, or wonder “What is a meme?”  In referring to Saussure’s meaning of “signifier,” a person can explain to an individual who has never had the freedom of information of the Internet as it is not the “literal meaning” of what they see, as they can “interpret” it in a way that makes more sense to them i.e., what the concept means to them.  (Storey, 2009)

References:

Storey, J. (2009). Cultural Theory and Popular Culture, An Introduction. Longman.

wiseGEEK. (n.d.).What is Post-Structuralsim<. Retrieved from wiseGEEK: http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-post-structuralism.htm

 

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