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Primljeno: 23. 11. 2003.
Culture of Signifiers: Difference Between Lévi-Strauss’ and Derrida’s Notion of Structure
ABSTRACT The anthropology was developed on the notions of primitive man, primitive culture and society. These notions were generated through mixture of scientific and fictional approaches to social reality, so that it was very difficult to prove them. Therefore, the scientific and cognitive value and significance of these models have been questioned in anthropology from the beginning. Structural critique of the theory of primitive mentality relativizes the relationship between fictional and science language, by conveying that the general mind capacities are grounded in the principles of fictional and/or irrational thinking, rejecting the idea that they relate to the previous phases of the mind development. Structural approach considers culture to be a system of signifiers, built on spontaneous semiotic processes. Derrida recognizes structural (Levi-Strauss’s) approach as a beginning of new type of discourse, partially released from the metaphysical heritage, introducing into anthropology decentralization of stable structure, changes of cognitive status and importance of fictional language, stressing the fictional aspects of scientific approaches. Consequently, anthropology is not considered as a grounded empirical science any more, but as a discursive game based on non-decisive discursive transformations. Derrida’s approach supports the interpretation of culture as a system of signifiers, avoiding the initial problem posed, but not solved by the structural critique of the theory of primitive mentality - that is the question if it is possible to supplement realistic discourse with the fictional one and what the consequences result from it.
KEY WORDS models of reality, structuralism, culture, cultural syntax and cultural semantics,“decentralized structure”.