By Michael Peters
Poststructuralism--as a name for a mode of thinking, a style of philosophizing, a kind of writing--has exercised a profound influence upon contemporary Western thought and the institution of the university. As a French and predominantly Parisian affair, poststructuralism is inseparable from the intellectual milieu of postwar France, a world dominated by Alexandre Kojeve's and Jean Hyppolite's interpretations of Hegel, Jacques Lacan's reading of Freud, Gaston Bachelard's epistemology, George Canguilhem's studies of science, and Jean-Paul Sartre's existentialism. It is also inseparable from the "structuralist" tradition of linguistics based upon the work of Ferdinand de Saussure and Roman Jacobson, and the structuralist interpretations of Claude Levi-Strauss, Roland Barthes, Louis Althusser, and the early Michel Foucault. Poststructuralism, considered in terms of contemporary cultural history, can be understood as belonging to the broad movement of European formalism, with explicit historical linksto both Formalist and Futurist linguistics and poetics, and with aspects of the European avant-garde, especially Andre Breton's surrealism. Each essay in this unique collection by and for educators is devoted to the work and educational significance of one of ten major poststructuralist philosophers.