The Oxford Biblical Studies Online and Oxford Islamic Studies Online have retired. Content you previously purchased on Oxford Biblical Studies Online or Oxford Islamic Studies Online has now moved to Oxford Reference, Oxford Handbooks Online, Oxford Scholarship Online, or What Everyone Needs to Know®. For information on how to continue to view articles visit the subscriber services page.

Related Content

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Archaeology
  • Art & Architecture
  • Classical studies
  • History
  • Linguistics
  • Literature
  • Media studies
  • Music
  • Performing arts
  • Philosophy
  • Religion
  • Society and culture


Show Summary Details



Quick Reference


A relativist philosophy based on the ideas and works of a number of French scholars working in the 1960s, notably Derrida, Lacan, Foucault, Barthes, and Kristeva, to develop earlier thinking by Hegel, Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, Freud, and Marx. The approach challenges the structuralist notion that there are fixed relationships between signs and meanings, between the signifier and the signified, arguing instead that meaning is contextualized within the individual and highly nuanced. A general trend of post‐structuralist method, often termed deconstruction, is to unsettle any allegedly firm, detached, or neutral conclusions on the basis that claims of truth are internal to any particular discourse. In doing so it opens up alternative readings and meanings.

Reference entries

View all reference entries »