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    Structuralism and poststructuralism Structuralism and poststructuralism Document Transcript

    • STRUCTURALISM AND POSTSTRUCTURALISM: A JOURNEY OF THEORIES OF LITERATURE By Alfian Rokhmansyah, S.S. AbstractWithin a century, the development of literary theories seems growing rapidly. Whenthey firstly emerged, literary theories dwelt only on the structure of literary work calledtheories of structuralism. Structuralism theory is a theory which existed since the daysof Aristotle, but has continuously been renewed until the beginning of the 20th century.The mobilizations of the groups who rejected the structuralist tradition are the mainresult of the development of literary theories. The development of literary theory beganwith the theories of structuralism whose view suggests that literature is an autonomousstructure. In further developments, the theory of structuralism began to be abandonedand some new poststructuralist theories which reject as well as escape from thestructural bindings emerged. Theories of poststructuralism attempt to provide literarytheories which do not dwell only on the structure of the text, but also on the extrinsicstructure and literary relationship with the environment. Some structuralist theories areclassified into Russian formalism, new criticism, structuralism dynamic, geneticstructuralism, narratology, and semiotics while poststructuralist are postmodernism,postcolonialism, deconstruction, literary reception, intertextual, literary feminism, andnaratologi poststructuralist theories. The theory of structuralism and poststructuralismcan be used to analyze classic and modern literature. This is because literary theoriescan be adjusted in an attempt to understand the different objects. In addition, thedevelopment of literary theories is also caused by the need for new theories which cansupport the studies of literature. Thus, this becomes the cause of the emergence ofinterdisciplinary theories in the literature.Keywords: literary theory, structuralism, poststructuralism.INTRODUCTION In a discipline of science, word theory is a common term. Theory can be regardedas an ingredient while the science itself is the cuisine. In general, what is meant bytheory is a scientific system or systematic knowledge that defines the relationshipbetween the arrangement pattern of symptoms observed. The theory contains a conceptor a description of the general laws of science an object from a particular viewpoint. Atheory can be logically deduced and verified the truth or denied their validity on anobject or phenomenon which is being observed. 1
    • Literary theory is the study of principles, categories, criteria that can be referencedand made as the point of departure in the study in the field of literature while the studyof a concrete work is called literary criticism and literary history. Three of them are veryclosely related. There is no way we formulate the theory of literature without literarycriticism and theories of literature, literary criticism without theories of literature, andhistory of literature (Wellek and Warren 1989: 38–39). At the beginning of its appearance, literary theory dwelt on the literary structure,which was often called the period of structuralism. Theories of structuralism is that thegenesis of the theory has existed since the days of Aristotle, but has continuously beenupdated throughout its history until the early 20th century (Ratna 2009: 5). Thedevelopment of structuralism theory since the days of Russian formalism topoststructuralism through many changes were made to the bearers. This shows thatliterary theory has been greatly developing. Virtually, all literary theories since the timeof Aristotle have stressed the importance of understanding the structure in the analysisof a literary work. But the critique of structuralism in particular the term refers to thepractice of literary criticism which bases its analysis on the model of modern linguistictheory. Theories of structuralism and poststructuralism can be used to analyze classic andmodern literature. This is because literary theory can be modified in an attempt tounderstand the different objects. According to Ratna (2009: 15–16) the rapiddevelopment of literary theory up to date has been triggered by several causes. Theyare; 1) the medium of literature is the language that has a large problem, (2) literatureinvolves various dimensions of culture containing various problems; (3) the majortheories in the field of literature has evolved since Aristotle’s era who has matured invarious disciplines, (4) the difficulties in understanding the literary phenomenontriggers the scientists to find new theories, and (5) the range of literature is growing at adynamic and requires different ways of understanding.SUMMARY OF THE THEORIES OF MODERN LITERATURETheories of Structuralism The development of literary theory was started since the beginning of the 20thcentury. The development of literary theories is in line with the development of literary 2
    • genres. This shows that the more development of a literary genre the newer literarytheories are required. During that period, structuralism was widely used in analyzingliterary works. Before the structuralism theories emerged, a theory was developing in Russia,namely the theory formalism which was carried by Russian Formalism group.Formalism theory emerged as a result of refusal on positivism paradigm of the 19thcentury who firmly held the principles of causality and as the reaction towards the studyof biography. Russian Formalism is generally regarded as a pioneer for the growth anddevelopment of theories of structuralism. The main author of formalist is Roman Jakobson who later helped establishing theLinguistic Circle of Prague in 1926. The formalists began producing literary theoryconcerned with the technical skills and job skills of the author’s hand (Selden 1993: 2).The main purpose of formalism is the scientific study of the literature. They believe thattheir study will enhance the ability of readers to read literary texts with an appropriatetrust. Perception through artistic form improves awareness of the world and generates alot of things (Nuryatin 2005: 3). After many authors who rejected formalist theory, some new theories arise becauseof the dissatisfaction with the formalism, namely the theory of structuralism. Althoughstructuralism is still related to Russian formalism, structuralism is generally regarded asthe development of the formalism. Prior to development of structuralism, in the UnitedStates develops a theory and model of the flow of new literature, namely the NewCriticism. The term new criticism was first raised by John Crowe Ransom in his bookThe New Criticism (1940) and supported by I.A. Richard and T.S. Eliot. This flowappeared as a reaction against previous literary criticism that too much focused on thoseaspects of life and psychology of the author and literary history. The new criticismaccused science and technology for eliminating the values of humanity and of societyand made them one-sided. According to them, science is inadequate in reflecting humanlife. On the other hand, literature, especially poetry, is a kind of knowledge, namelyknowledge through experience. The task of literary criticism is to show and maintain thepeculiar, unique, and comprehensive knowledge as those offered to us by great literature(Van Luxemburg et al, 1988: 52–54). Structuralism is actually a philosophicalunderstanding that views the world as a structured reality. It is applied in the literature 3
    • that considers work of literature is an autonomous structure. In the theories ofstructuralism there is an inter-relational concept which states that literary work is astructure consisting of elements that relates one to another. The elements can only havemeanings in relationship, both associate or opposite relations. Relationships that can belearned are relating to microtext (words, sentences), a wider form (verse, chapters), andthe intertextual (other works within a certain period). Structuralism attempts to provide a scientific basis for the theory of literature, asrequired by other scientific disciplines. As object of the research, literary works areidentified as a beautiful art object because of its use of a particular language. The objectof study is then placed in a system or relational arrangement for easy management. Withthis system, we collect and discover the relationships that exist in reality beingobserved. In a further development of the theory of structuralism, some groupsemerged; the theories of dynamic structuralism, genetic structuralism, narratologystructuralism, and semiotics. These theories have their own characteristics which areused in the research of literature. Dynamic structuralism (Ratna 2009: 93), which wasfirstly put forward by Mukarovsky and Felik Vodicka, is based on the weaknesses ofstructuralism as alleged as the development of the formalism. Dynamic structuralismaims to improve the structuralism which prioritizes the intrinsic elements of literatureonly. Genetic structuralism is in line with dynamic structuralism that developed on thebasis of a rejection of pure structuralism analysis, i.e. analysis of the intrinsic elements.Structuralisme dynamic and genetic structuralism reject literary language functions as adistinct language. But within the scope of literary communication, dynamicstructuralism confines to the role of writers and readers of literature, while the geneticstructuralism goes further into the social structure. The main author in the geneticstructuralism is Lucien Goldmann. Genetic structuralism has more implications inrelation to the development of human sciences in general. A structure, for Goldmann,must be refined to have meaning, in which each symptom has a meaning when it isassociated with a larger structure, and so on until every element sustains its totality(Ratna 2009: 121–122). In the development of structuralism, there are groups of structuralism narratology.Narratology is also called the theory of narrative text. Both narratology and theories of 4
    • discourse (text), narrative is defined as a set of concepts about stories and storytelling.Narratology is developed on the basis of linguistic analogy, as a model of syntax, as therelationship between subject, predicate, and as the object (Ratna 2009: 128). In the earlystage in the development of narrative theory, there are some founding authors, such as:Aristotle Poetica (story and text), Henry James (the characters and story), Forster(figures round and flat), Percy Lubbock (narrative technique), Vladimir Propp (rolesand functions), Claude Levi-Strauss (the structure of myth), Tzvetan Todorov (historieand discours), Claude Bremond (structure and function), Mieke Bal (fabula, story, text),Greimas (grammar and structure of narrative actants), and Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan(story, text, narration). In general, the structuralist periods are involved in thedichotomy and sjuzhet fabula (story and plot). There is term semiotic theory in the theories of structural period. Structuralism andsemiotics are generally from different theoretical frameworks. In fact, literary semioticsis not a stream of literature. Various flows like structuralism and sciences could becalled semiotic linguistics literature (Van Luxemburg et al, 1984: 44–46). This differsfrom Culler’s opinion (in Ratna 2009: 97) which states that structuralism and semioticsare two theories that are similar, whereas structuralism focuses on the work of semioticsat the sign. While Selden (1993: 55) revealed that structuralism and semiotics are thesame two areas of science so that both can be operated simultaneously. Semioticanalysis is a follow up from an analysis of structuralism.Theories of poststructuralism In the late 1960s, a new understanding was born which was considered as acomplement and follow up of poststructuralism. Poststructuralist thoughts have foundan essential unstable nature of meaning. Post-structuralism emerged due to theweaknesses of structuralism, such as (1) model of structuralism analysis is consideredrigid because it is only based on the structure and particular system, (2) structuralism ismore paying attention to literary work as an autonomous system, so that it forgets theauthor and readers, and (3) the results of the analysis are as if just for the sake of literaryworks and ignore the interests of society. The birth of poststructuralism was intended toanticipate the various distortions semantic system so that literature may function well insociety. 5
    • In poststructuralist area, there appeared some theories that are developing up totoday, such as the theory of postmodernism, postcolonialism, reader response,intertextual, literary feminism, deconstruction, and poststructuralist narratology. Theemergence of poststructuralist automatically ignore and will deconstruct the structure sothat poststructuralism is generally referred as deconstruction. Deconstruction is a kindof literary theory which pays little attention to the structure of literary works. Accordingto Ratna (2009: 222), deconstruction, pioneered by Jaques Derrida, denies the existenceof logosentrism and fonosentrism which deliver binary oppositions and other ways ofthinking that is hierarchically dichotomous. Abrams said that deconstruction is essentially a way of reading the text thatsubverts the assumption that says a text has a foundation, the system applies thelanguage to clarify the structure, integrity, and meaning that has been erratic. Thistheory rejects the notion that language has single, absolute, and constant meaning likethe views of classical structuralism (in Nurgiyantoro 1998: 59). According Endraswara (2008b: 167–168), poststructuralist can be considered aspostmodernist period. This is caused by the fact that postmodernists is the opposite ofmodernism that still utilizes the structural theories of literary analysis. The analysis ofmodernism that was brought by the modernists would stop at the structural study ofliterature. The main characteristic is the postmodernist’ rejection of the existence of onecentral, absoluteness, major narratives, metanarrative, the monolinier movement ofhistory. Postmodernists subverts the uniformity, homogeneity, and totality by givingintensity on the differences, relativity, and pluralism. Narratology that develops in the poststructuralist period generally deconstructs thedichotomy of parole and langue, fabula, and sjuzhet with the characteristics of narrativenonliteral, interdisciplinary, including feminists and psychoanalysis. The foundersamong them are Gerard Gennet (sequence, duration, frequency, mode, and voice),Gerald Prince (narratee structure), Seymoeur Chatman (narrative structure), JonathanCuller (competency literature), Roland Barthes (kernels and satellits) Mikhail Bakhtin(polyphonic discourse), Hayden White (discourse history), Mary Louise Pratt (actionwords), Umberto Eco (discourse and lies), Michel Foucault (discourse and power),Jean-Francois Lyotard (metanarasi), and Jean Baudrillad (hiperealitas, pastiche). (Ratna2009: 242) 6
    • In the poststructuralist period, the theories of reader response and intertext aregrowing rapidly. The reader response gives attention to the reader, while intertext on therelationship between one work with others. In broader term, the reader response is a textprocessing, the way of making meaning of literary works. In the world of literature,theory of reader response which is widely used is the theory of Hans Robert Jauss’sreader response (horizon of expectation) and Wolfgang Iser (implicit reader). In thedevelopment, hovewer, some new authors emerged such as Jonathan Culler with hisconvention reader theory. Intertext theory will not escape from the theory of the hipogram Riffaterre concept.According Riffaterre (in Endraswara 2008b: 132) hipogram is the main capital in theliterature that will give birth the next literary work. So it can be interpreted thathipogram is a literary work that will be the background of the next literary masterpiececalled transformation. The basic principle of intertextuality is a literary work can onlybe fully understood if the meaning is in relation with other texts that became hipogram. In subsequent developments, poststructuralist theories also received contributionsfrom contemporary theories in the 1960s, and the feminist theory pioneered by VirginiaWoolf (Ratna 2009: 183). The concept of feminism is to reverse the paradigm thatwomen are under the domination of men, women are complementary, and women asbeing second. In line with this concept, the study of feminism in literature is a literarystudy of women, women writers, women readers, women leaders, and so forth. Poststructuralist theory that can be considered new is the theories ofpostcolonialism. Postcolonial theory can be defined as a critical theory that tries toreveal the effects caused by colonialism (Ratna 2008: 120). The analysis usingpostcolonial theory can be used to trace the hidden aspects in order to know how apower works and to dismantle the discipline, institution, and its underlying ideology. Inthis context, language, literature, and culture may play a role in all three symptomsbecause it contains a discourse intended by the colonialists (2008: 104). Postcolonialtheory was originally devoted to examine countries that were directly used to becolonies. But in its development, postcolonialism is considered to have an global effect.Interdisciplinary Theories The development of interdisciplinary theories arose as a result of the needs of theresearchers of literature on the theories of other disciplines that can be utilized in the 7
    • study of literature. In fact, interdispliner theories have been discussed since the time ofstructuralists named Wellek and Warren in Theory of Literature book. In the book, theyshow the relationship between literary works with other fields, namely literature andthoughts, literature and psychology, literature and society, literature and biography. Therelationship between literature with psychology and life are growing today. Most ofinterdisciplinary theories found in literature are the theories of psychology, sociology,and anthropology literature. In practice, these interdisciplinary researches use thetheories of structuralism and poststructuralism in addition to the theories of otherdisciplines. Literature in psychology is an interdisciplinary field of humanities with the scienceof psychology. Sigmund Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis is one of some widely usedtheories. Other examples are Carl Gustav Jung (psychology of personality), Hurlock(developmental psychology), and so on. In its application in the study of literature,psychology can be used to analyze the psychology of the author, character’s andreader’s psychology. The field of sociology of literature is an interdisciplinary field of humanities withthe social science theories. Social science theories widely used in the study of literatureis the theory of hegemony that was brought by Antonio Gramsci, the theory of geneticstructuralism by Lucian Goldmann, Marxist theories of Karl Marx, the theory ofideology, theory trilogy of author-reader’s work, and the theory of dialogical (Ratna2009: 339). Antropology of literature is an interdisciplinary field of literature with the scienceof anthropology, particularly the study of cultural anthropology. In this field, there arestudies that utilize the theories of structuralist and poststructuralistnarratology.Generally, anthropological theories are used to analyze the folkloreliterature, both oral and written ones. In its development, anthropology literature is alsoevolved into the ethnography and cultural studies in the literature. This suggests that theanthropological literature has relevance to local patterned literature. According to Ratna(2009: 353), anthropological literature tends to focus attention on an ancient society.Literary works with the conflicts of myth and language full of archaic words are used asthe objects of anthropological study of literature. 8
    • CLOSING Within a century, the development of literary theories seems growing fast. It is alsoinfluenced by the contribution of the theories of other disciplines. The mobilization ofthose who reject the structural habit is the main cause of the development. The differences of opinion about literary theories would never end, and need not tobe ended. With the advent of poststructuralist theories, it does not mean that thestructuralist theory is no longer relevant and should be abandoned. There are many ofthe research literature that combine the two different theories today which result deeperanalysis on the objects. Literary theories that exist now will have developed if theresearchers are able to adjust the literature theories towards literary works in the future.DAFTAR PUSTAKADamono, Sapardi Djoko. 1973. Sosiologi Sastra: Sebuah Pengantar Ringkas. Jakarta: P3B Dekdikbud.Endraswara, Suwardi. 2008a. Metodologi Penelitian Psikologi Sastra. Yogyakarta: Media Pressindo._________. 2008b. Metodologi Penelitian Sastra. Yogyakarta: Media Pressindo.Faruk. 1999. Pengantar Sosiologi Sastra. Yogyakarta: Pustaka Pelajar.Nurgiyantoro, Burhan. 1998. Teori Pengkajian Fiksi. Yogyakarta: UGM Press.Nuryatin, Agus. 2005. Formalisme Rusia: Mengolah Fakta dalam Fiksi. Semarang: Rumah Indonesia._________. 2006. “Teori Sastra I”. Modul. FBS, Unnes.Ratna, Nyoma Kutha. 2008. Postkolonialisme Indonesia: Relevansi Sastra Yogyakarta: Pustaka Pelajar._________. 2009. Teori, Metode, dan Teknik Penelitian Sastra. Yogyakarta: Pustaka Pelajar.Selden, Raman. 1993. Panduan Pembaca Teori Sastra Masa Kini. Diterjemahkan oleh Rachmat Djoko Pradopo. Yogyakarta: UGM Press.Sugihastuti. 2005. Kritik Sastra Feminis. Yogyakarta: Pustaka Pelajar.Teeuw, A. 1988. Sastra dan Ilmu Sastra. Jakarta: Dunia Pustaka.Todorov, Tzvetan. 1985. Tata Sastra. Jakarta: Penerbit Djambatan.Wellek, Rene dan Austin Warren. 1989. Teori Kesusastraan. Diterjemahkan oleh Melani Budianta. Jakarta: Gramedia. 9