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Postcolonialism,” one of the most important terms in literary studies today, is not an easy one to define. There are, infact, two different forms of the word in circulation: “post-colonial” (with a hyphen) and “postcolonial” (without a hyphen). And this minor discrepancy reveals two variations of the basic definition. One is easy to explain: “post- colonial with a hyphen’ is “simply a descriptive word, marking literature by people of formerly colonized countries.” But, ‘postcolonialism without a hyphen’ is a much broader term, suggesting not only a period and a body of literature, “but also describing a ‘knowledge-politics’ a lens for viewing the world and a theoretical tool for understanding it.” In this sense colonialism, even if it is produced during postcolonial, primarily due to its oppositional nature. Moreover, Postcolonial period is “not a clear-cut terrain, because it is still developing now.” The study of colonialism and its after-effects is not new, but the new historical situations that require it are not safely in the past either. Postcolonialism thus offers us ways of understanding the “history of the present.” Infact, in the contexts of anti-colonial struggles in Asia, Africa, and South America, much of the ideas of resistance, cultural nationalism, nativism had emerged, and on the basis of these, critics like Edward Said have generated the modes of ‘postcolonial reading’.

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Saussure’s Structuralism

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A movement of thought in the humanities , widespread in anthropology , linguistics , and literary theory , and influential in the 1950s and 1960s , Structuralism is based primarily on the linguistic theories of Ferdinand de Saussure , Broadly speaking Structuralism holds that all human activity and its products , even perception and thought itself , are constructed and not natural , and in particular that everything has meaning because of the language system in which we operate . It is closely related to Semiotics , the study of signs , symbols and communication , and how meaning is constructed and understood . In literary theory , such a view challenged the belief that a work of literature reflects a given reality ; instead , a text is seen as constituted of linguistic conventions . The anthropologist Claude Levi – Strauss was an important champion of structuralism , as was Roman Jakobsen . Northrop Frye , Noam Chomsky , Roland Barthes and the Marxist theorists Louis Althusser were also instrumental in developing the theory and techniques of Structuralism .

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