Structuralism and Poststructuralism

Structuralism and poststructuralism are theoretical attitudes arising out of film studies' "linguistic turn"—the attempt to reconceptualize cinema using language as an explanatory paradigm—in the 1960s and 1970s. At this time, the discipline was just beginning to attain footing as a serious field of scholarly inquiry and become an established presence as an academic department at universities. In many ways symptomatic of the fledgling field's anxiety about being taken seriously, the structuralist movement's claim to a scientific approach to criticism was very appealing to film theorists looking to move beyond "film appreciation." Poststructuralism would both refine and overturn structuralist assumptions; where the structuralist impulse was to erect systems, poststructuralists looked for gaps and ruptures therein.

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