Structuralism in Geography Study Material
 Structuralism in Geography
- Structuralism is an approach within geography which advocates that to understand the surface patterns of human behaviour, it is necessary to have knowledge about the structures underlying them which shape human actions.
- The beginning of the Structuralism can be traced in the French school of thought.
- Founder of structuralism Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913). He was also known as accidental father of structuralism philosophy. He was actually a linguist. He uses the term structuralism for the linguistics.
- Claude Levi Strauss a French (1906-2009) Anthropologist and ethnologist also contribute in structuralism.
- So Saussure actually paved the journey of structuralism which was later on applied in a diverse range of fields based on different other perspectives and contexts with the advancement of time and discourse.
- The structuralism philosophy in geography was introduced in between 1950s and 1960s.
Central Idea of Structuralism:
- The arrangement and functional relationship between the parts or elements of something complex.
Structuralism in Geography
Structuralism in geography is an interdisciplinary studies. The basic idea and hypothesis of structuralism comes from the linguistic study, then it enters in the domain of social science as well as in geography.
 It is a theoretical approach in human geography
 Geography is a spatial science, therefore surface pattern of human behaviour, culture, social governed by the structure underlying them. To understand the structure, need in-depth study, first need to know the elements (more than two), second functional relations among them than third elements are arranged in a particular pattern or method to build a structure.
When the attributes are discussing in a spatial perspective, then it became Structuralism in geography.
For example, to know the reasons for migration (spatial phenomenon) one must look at underlying patterns such as poverty, violence, etc., that trigger people to migrate.
Proponents of Structuralism
- Besides Ferdinand de Saussure and Claude Levi Strauss the other proponents of structuration theory are British sociologist Anthony Giddens and French sociologist Pierre Bourdien. Jean Piaget is also a structuralist thinker. According to Giddens structure is a continuous flow, a process reproduced by actions.
- Jean Piaget said that process of gathering knowledge consists of different phases and therefore structures. Each stage in the development of knowledge has its own characteristics and systems and knowledge itself consists of structures.
- A structuralist approach may study activities as diverse as food preparation and serving rituals, religious rites, games, literary and non-literary texts and other forms of entertainment to discover the deep structures by which meaning is produced and reproduced within the culture.
Criticism of Structuralism
- Structuralism is a historical and favour deterministic structural forces over the ability of people to act.
- It failed to explain symbolic mediation in the social world.
Key Points on Structuralism:
 Founder of structuralism Ferdinand de Saussure, a French linguist.
 The structuralism philosophy in geography was introduced in between 1950s and 1960s.
 Proponents: Ferdinand de Saussure and Claude Levi Strauss, Anthony Giddens, Pierre Bourdien, Jean Piaget etc.
 Structuralism is an approach advocates to understand the surface patterns of human behaviour.
N.B- Notes will be updated time to time
PDF Name: Structuralism in Geography Notes by Netset Corner
Size: 1.4 MB
No. of Pages: 3
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