Lecture 11: History Writing in the 1960s and 1970s and the ‘linguistic turn’

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Theory and poststructuralism

In theoretical development, many structuralist scholars became overtly critical of structures.

Barthes for example, became to doubt the ability of an observer to adopt a distinterested and neutral position from which t move from reading of structures to exploring the variety of meanings.

Other scholars who looked at that period ad his work have argued that many structuralists like Barthe moved away from an analsysis based on the understanding a game like chess (with all the move listed) to an analysis based on readings of texts as if they were plays.
The text becomes the central focus of postructuralist scholars for the next 15 year. The text becomes seen as needing to be played with, explored and deconstructed for the varieties and ambiguities of meanings it contains.
In particular, poststructuralism shifted the emphasis squarely from the author to the reader. It is a reflection upon the act of reading a text that exposes its meanings, not reflection on the act of writing it.

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