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University of Nebraska - Lincoln [email protected] of Nebraska - Lincoln

Library and Practice (e-journal) Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Spring 4-2-2021

The Use of and Poststructuralism in Library and

Amjid Khan Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad, Pakistan, [email protected]

Muhammad Arshad National Library & Resource Centre (NL&RC), Islamabad, Pakistan, [email protected]

Pervaiz Ahmad Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad, Pakistan, [email protected]

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Khan, Amjid; Arshad, Muhammad; and Ahmad, Pervaiz, "The Use of Structuralism and Poststructuralism in Library and Information Science" (2021). Library Philosophy and Practice (e-journal). 5404. https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/libphilprac/5404 The Use of Structuralism and Poststructuralism in Library and Information Science

Dr. Amjid Khan Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad, Pakistan Email: [email protected] (corresponding author) Muhammad Arshad National Library & Resource Centre (NL&RC), Islamabad, Pakistan Email: [email protected] Dr. Pervaiz Ahmad Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad, Pakistan Email: [email protected]

Abstract The paper aims to explore the fundamental of structuralism and post-structuralism as philosophical approaches, literary differences between structuralism and post-structuralism, and the implication of these two approaches in Library and Information Science (LIS). Several published was consulted to achieve the study objectives. It was found that structuralism and post-structuralism have a significant impact on the functioning of modern libraries and, therefore, their importance should be given consideration. Structuralism and post -structuralism as philosophical approaches provide insights into and development in LIS. The study gives numerous recommendations for LIS professionals to adopt these two philosophical approaches in modern library practices . Keywords: Structuralism, Poststructuralism, Library and Information Science, Philosophy.

Introduction According to Oxford English Dictionary (1989), the origin of the word "structure", has the of "repair or repair of transport, exercise or process" and "how to repair buildings, machinery, equipment, etc.". Structuralism is a conceptual and methodological approach used to describe and analyze a variety of investigative objects including, , , , literature, , , and . The structural analysis assumes that these investigative objects can be characterized by the of basic structures as of interrelated parts and can be defined (at least in part) by the relationships between these constitutional elements. The structural assumptions (relating to the of basic structures and the methods that should be analyzed) were developed within the philosophy. This can also be applied to many systems, including anatomy, geology, , and LIS (Larsson, 2015). Consequently, poststructuralism is not an isolated theory, but a and approach to the social world based on specific ontological and epistemological characteristics. Social emphasizes the of the main idea. It emphasizes the importance of interpolation and meaning in the absence of social and cultural (Adler,

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1997; Pouliot, 2007; Wendt, 1999). The main requirement of poststructuralism is that social analysis must identify the strength of visible and invisible causes. Structuralism and Poststructuralism both refer to the expansion of continental political, literary, and aesthetic philosophy, developed in the second half of the 20th century in a way that resembled some advances in analytical philosophy. The post-structure approach is known for its attempts to analyze common concepts in classical philosophy. Structuralism and poststructuralism have been largely influenced by cultural because, the school of focuses on the creation of meaning, and the creation of meaning is an important function of (Barker, 2010).

Figure 1. Concept map of poststructuralism (adopted from Pinterest, 2020a, p. 1)

Fundamental Concepts of Structuralism and Poststructuralism The Collins Dictionary (2020) defines the term structuralism as “a way in which things like language, literature and can be interpreted and analyzed with a focus on conflicting ideas or structural elements and their conditions that try to show the whole ." It identifies the basic elements that make up a structure and establishes the rules that govern how these elements can be communicated. According to Harris (1983), de Saussure had provided the basis for the study of language and the basic reading of structural theory in his book. He discussed language modification and told that it affected mental activity and laid the foundation for it. is associated with the origin of each word and the of the language. de Saussure preferred a rather than a historical negotiation method. He had a different view of language than linguists of his time. emphasizes the rules of grammar but was interested in de Saussure’s language.

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Figure 2. Structuralism and : Gerard Genette (adopted from Hariyani, 2016, p. 1)

G. Radford & M. Radford (2005) recommend that Language is a system in which all the elements are intertwined and the of one element depends upon the coexistence of all the other elements. Language is a system for recognizing these characters that are impartial and only kept in the assembly. There is no natural connection between the signal and your target. Words (characters) connect the subject (meaning) to the sound or image (attacker). The ratio between the mark and the indicator is not normal. Word forms do not define their relationship to what they are referring to. de Saussure confirmed the origin of the word form (linguistic ) in the principle of distinction. Poststructuralism is a critic of structuralism as well as an extension of the basic concepts proposed by de Saussure. According to G. Radford & M. Radford (2005), structuralism is a system of language in which the author and reader of all articles must communicate with one other. de Saussure stated that the reader and the author must understand the rules of building a related language to understand a text. Structuralism explains that the structure of language can be defined objectively and scientifically but poststructuralism states that such a definition is fundamental and cannot be defined as objective. While it is generally acknowledged that de Saussure was the creator of the structured approach, his influence on the in the 20th century can hardly be exaggerated, it is interesting to note that he never used the term "structure" in his (Benveniste, 1966). The term was coined by R. Jakobson in 1929 (Jakobson, 1971), referring to an emerging new method used at the time in linguistics, as well as other disciplines such as literary studies, , , and . Hence, it is difficult to find a of common criteria that all structures would agree on, a set of general principles of at least Saussurian structure (Hjorland, 2002).

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Figure 3. A response on poststructuralism in relation to structuralism (adopted from Kundu, 2017, p. 1)

Poststructuralists say such is accepted in society because of the power and dominance of some of the actors known as "elites", who then pass it on to others. Elites come in many forms and play many different in . For example, they include government ministers who determine a 's political focus and direction, business leaders who leverage huge financial resources to shape market direction, and the media who determine that. How a person is presented while telling a story. Furthermore, an elite is often categorized as an expert in society, giving them the power to consolidate ideas that are in their best interests for a wider audience (Morrow, 2018). De Saussure applied structural analysis only to linguistic systems, but many continental philosophers and intellectuals chose to apply his reasoning more broadly, and his hypotheses and methods were modified and extended to other disciplines and nonlinear phenomena. Structuralism in areas such as anthropology, , , and was gradually accepted, as it became an influential intellectual movement, in the 1960s and in particular, the 1970s were characterized by phenomenology and . The structure accepts that all social activities are - the clothes we choose to wear, the books we write, the cultural we practice - and that their regularity can be encoded by abstract sets of ground rules (Mahlberg, 2011). According to de Saussure, language is structured before it is realized in speech or writing. Language consists of a set of , each consisting of a signer (audio or inscribed image) and a sign (concept or meaning). Other scholars use different words for signage and signage, and most of them add a third dimension to de Saussure’s linguistic sign to include non-verbal objects or referees. For de Saussure, signs are arbitrary because a word (signifier) is connected to a concept or meaning (signified) by the common conventions and uses of a particular linguistic . Signs do not exist outside of a system and the meaning of a word is determined by its relationship and the differences between other words, and as a result of binary or oppositional discrimination usually determines the content and commitments of the structure (Lundy, 2013). In the early 1960s, many students on the continent worked with structured ideas, although many refused to be labeled as such, and some eventually became more recognizable as former structuralists. Foucault explicitly denied affiliated with a structure in his later works, but his 1966 book, The Order of Things, seeks to explain how the structures of (epistemology) in the

Structuralism and Poststructuralism in LIS… Khan,A., Arshad,M. & Ahmad,P. 4 have determined how we imagine knowledge and information. also studied the structured production of scientific knowledge and methods (Kuhn, 1962). Harris (1983) defined that “Language is a system in which all the elements fit together”.

Figure 4. Flowchart of structuralism and poststructuralism (adopted from Pinterest, 2020b, p. 1)

According to Harris (1983), de Saussure’s connection of language and structure enabled the course to occupy “a place of unique importance in the history of Western thinking and broader intellectual movement of the twentieth century known as structuralism”. With the publication of History of Madness in 1961, Foucault showed a new direction for structural thinking. As reported, “Barthes said this work was the first structured application to history” (Dosse, 1997, p. 155). The terminology of both the structuralism and poststructuralism system refers to the political, literary, and aesthetic expansion of , which emerged in the second half of the 20th century evolutionarily (Finkelde, 2013). The most important representatives of post-structural philosophy were Jack Derrida (1930-2004), Giles Delos (1925– 1995), Jean-Francois Leitward (1924–1998), Jack Lacan (1901–1981), and (1926–1984).

Differences between Structuralism and Poststructuralism Abdulla (2016, p. 5) described basic differences between these two epistemologies as under:

Table 1 Differences between Structuralism and Poststructuralism Structuralism Poststructuralism It derives from linguistics It derives from Philosophy It can be observed accurately It is just oral It collects data systematically It is sceptical by nature It is a logical deduction It usually undercuts It can find a reliable conclusion It consists of questions notions and assumptions It inherits a scientific outlook It inherits the habit of skepticism It in system, method and It is fully conscious of the irony and paradox It can establish reliable It is not able to establish the truth

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Structuralism and Poststructuralism in LIS Comprehensive literature was written about the conscious way to prevent Foucault from giving a clear idea of structuralism (Blair, 1987; Frank, 1992; G. Radford & M. Radford, 1997). With detailed inspection, however, we came to know that Foucault’s refusal to provide a single definition of "word" stems from his theoretical character after his . Defining "speech" means linking it to other words that they have to define themselves, and so on. According to the Oxford English Dictionary (1989, pp. 598), a library can be a room or space "containing books or other reading material" or a house with a collection of books "for the public." In the public domain, the library is "responsible for the maintenance of a collection of books and for making them available to those who request their use.” The library and Information Science has shifted the definition of the library's purpose to donations: collecting materials designed to provide intellectual, biblical, and physical access to a proposed group (Young, 1983). Talking about England's home is nothing more than "size and climate change". The term "books" has been replaced by "tools" to recognize that libraries store more than one book and that they have reached the age of modern digital/electronic libraries and the growing use of digital gadgets and multimedia. The word "public" has been exchanged by "target group". But the shift in language does not diminish from the that libraries are distinct in practical terms as a place to collect, organize, store, and serve books in distress. The LIS area leads to the study, theory, and eventually speaking of these problems to “resolve specific and hands-on problems and address tangible and concrete events” (Floridi, 2002, p. 7). For example, what type of edition is the most effective way to organize your book collection and make it accessible to users? LIS cannot avoid the problems associated with these two information methods, it is broadly called information . Tools such as program classification schemes (e.g., DDC Classification Scheme [Dewey, 2003]; Library of Congress Classification Systems [Library of Congress, 2004]), the strictly cataloged and clear rules (e.g. ALA, 2002), decorated/meticulous title. Various vocabulary, classified materials, and indexes designed to set the model for potentially confusing human knowledge (Blake, 2002). What are the consequences of this tool for the tools on which our real be created and understood? The knowledge organization tool worked on a traditional "fair" prayer, trying to give an exceptional definition for an document ( i.e., some categories or phrases) and a restricted number of specific topics (title topics) and then repeating the request made. Match the document using a Boolean model. The Library practitioners have consistently agreed that a classification method should be considered as an rather than a real science as no consensus factor fits the classification system. Poststructural LIS tendencies could also be perceived in the new standard of "best match", which emphasizes relationships and addresses problems of (see Ingerwersen & Willett, 1995). An example of this method can be perceived in the advancement of the Dublin Metadata Central Initiative, which pursues alternatives to the Anglo-American Catalog Rules (ALA, 2002) by providing these source reports as web-pages (Caplan, 2003). One more example is found in archives and indexes that give access to articles using keywords and natural keywords instead of content titles, and the results are ranked according to their importance. Google, that uses advanced algorithms to determine its significance. Google has been so fruitful that it has "changed the way the world views things" (Levy, 2004, p. 50-8). With more than 200 million searches a day, Google's success has highlighted the question of why more people choose to use publishing tools. -structuralist than the outdated library system (that is much harder to navigate to make, it seems mysterious to people who are unskilled and require

Structuralism and Poststructuralism in LIS… Khan,A., Arshad,M. & Ahmad,P. 6 more effort), the desired text to find (Tenopir, 2004). The LIS professionals may not consider the assignment of classification numbers, subject titles, and references to specific articles as "reference" material as it is illegal and affects the use and creation of information. They may find the discrete configurations they have created insignificant and unknown, or they may encourage the image of other possible configurations (e.g. free distribution of articles in libraries, where users may feel easier and easier to navigate than traditional ones). Libraries, though they mentally feel that the traditional knowledge system is artificial, their application is so intertwined in the work that it is difficult to feel that it applied them from the outside (Radford & Radford, 2005). When these systems are drawn to the broader debate about de Saussure and Foucault’s work, we could not only see the library both structurally and post structurally but also see the possibility of new ways of exploring in LIS. The practice of these theories represents a gateway for LIS in the field of structure and poststructuralism and an invitation to expand the concept of "reading", its , profile, and practice in the poststructuralist world (Radford & Radford, 2005).

Conclusion This study explored structuralism and poststructuralism both from general as well as LIS perspectives. These two philosophical approaches could be used as a gateway to LIS operations in the modern digital era. Strategies for book writing should be considered as an art and not a fixed science. Today is the age of internet search, especially through Google, there are such challenges in pursuing the new of "best match". Now instead of searching in the current titles of topics, internet resources can be searched through new methods like direct search, indirect search, and organic search strategies. They cited examples of Google search to use poststructuralism methods of internet search for interpretation. Google uses its sophisticated algorithm to determine the value of an item in the most appropriate match. Librarians may be reluctant to accept these new methods of knowledge management, even though they are aware of the fact that traditional knowledge management systems are artificial. If old traditional methods are replaced with new methods such as library search to move to the "best match" from the "match" recognition library, their responsibilities and their use of the procedures will be increased. This could be possible by the use of information technology (ICT) and modern technologies that must be integrated with the libraries. Libraries should provide infrastructure and services that enable users to access their information promptly and efficiently. Professionals should review common and technical practices such as cataloging, classification, and automation system on modern patterns. They must be familiar with modern communication skills and advanced technology to design and develop web-based applications programs and services. They should evaluate their existing systems, understand their shortcoming, and make necessary changes according to their requirements.

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