Enter your email address to subscribe to Irregular Times and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 385 other subscribers

Irregular Times Newsletters

Click here to subscribe to any or all of our six topical e-mail newsletters:
  1. Social Movement Actions,
  2. Credulity and Faith,
  3. Election News,
  4. This Week in Congress,
  5. Tech Dispatch and
  6. our latest Political Stickers and Such

Contact Us

We can be contacted via retorts@irregulartimes.com

Challenge: Define PostStructuralism As Coherent Without Babbling

Challenge to deep thinkers around the world:

Provide a definition of the term poststructuralist that meets the three following simple criteria:

1. Explains what poststructuralism is, rather than what it is not
2. Does not refer to structuralism
3. Is not babbling nonsense

Your adherence to these criteria will be judged by our readers.

Can anyone do this?

11 comments to Challenge: Define PostStructuralism As Coherent Without Babbling

  • Tom

    i don’t think it’s worth the effort.

  • That’s an interesting definition…

  • Post-structuralism IS an annoying attempt by some academics to evade accountability by sticking to asking questions and avoiding the responsibility of answering them or devising a system to answer them.

    How’s that?

  • Jeff Kelly

    Provide a definition of which one; poststructural-ist or -ism? I’ll take a stab at both:

    Poststructuralism is a perspective that in the application of linguistic analysis considers the influence of: author, text and reader (creator, creation and user) in context of time and space.

    or

    Post-structuralism is a perspective that recognizes the limits of human knowledge and celebrates these limits as just as liberating as discovered knowledge.
    [Sometimes it's okay not to know.]

    or

    Poststructuralism is after structure…

    A poststructuralist uses acceptance of their limitations in the pursuit of knowledge, realizing that the intellectual dance and humor of ideas is just a valid as the ever elusive accuracy.

    A poststructuralist uses awareness of the “observer effect” and of context to aid in their methods of analysis.

    A poststructuralist is not limited by binary opposition.

    Poststructuralists reject the necessity to organize all knowledge.

    A poststructuralist knows that the reader/user gives meaning to the words/data.

    Poststructuralism is an intellectual movement rooted in the words of 1960’s French philosophers and theorists.

    I’m now done stabbing…JK

    • Jeff, I appreciate that effort.

      A few of these don’t match the challenge, but most of them do.

      Even taken all together, though, your definitions make a post-structuralism that’s pretty small… just a few thoughts to be played with for a while, and integrated if someone likes, as an approach that rejects the end of its own effort.

      Why do people make such a big deal about post-structuralism, then? What am I missing?

      • Jeffrey "JK" Kelly

        “A few of these don’t match the challenge, but most of them do.” Thanks for appreciating the effort, it was enjoyable. I matched the challenge and then added some other thoughts, one with tongue in cheek.

        “Even taken all together, though, your definitions make a post-structuralism that’s pretty small.” And is that a bad thing? Isn’t poststructuralism small minded? Your point?

        “…an approach that rejects the end of its own effort.” It’s so absurd, ironic isn’t it. Like; “There is no truth” cancels itself and “Never say never.” That’s why, “A poststructuralist uses acceptance of their limitations in the pursuit of knowledge, realizing that the intellectual dance and humor of ideas is just a valid as the ever elusive accuracy” is so relevant.

        “Why do people make such a big deal about post-structuralism, then? What am I missing?” I wasn’t much aware of poststructuralism before your challenge just very aware of the concepts. I just did it as an intellectual exercise because I was at a boring 2 hour meeting. Why do you ask, “What am I missing?”

        • I ask “what am I missing”, because I’ve got colleagues (not here at Irregular Times) who loudly profess a poststructuralist perspective, and what they have to say generally sounds like babbling nonsense to me, yet I see other people react to what they’re saying with nodding heads and affirmation. I keep thinking to myself, “What is it that they’re getting that I’m not getting?”

          Poststructuralism to me seems to, for all its talk of ambiguity, miss the most essential ambiguity of all: That we can attempt to construct cognitive systems, all the while understanding that the systems we construct, and the structures that we discuss, are all just models, none of them final and absolutely beyond challenge.

          The difference between poststructuralists and the rest of us seems to be that poststructuralists make their careers out of talking about how there are limits to knowledge, and stop there, while the rest of us recognize that no system of investigation is perfect, and then get on with doing the best we can.

  • Jeffrey "JK" Kelly

    Excellent! I agree! Sorry you have to deal with these types too often. Either I’m in an environment that is not as pretentious or my ignorance is bliss. Sounds similar to the Pharisees of old.

  • Soul Sista

    Huge word, but I’ll take a shot at it. Due to circumstances and emotional states, people have exceptions to the rules from time to time. People change how they feel and what they perceive about ideas and situations all the time. Reminds me of how some people can convince themselves to believe a lie.

Leave a Reply

  

  

  

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>