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Barthes, Roland

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Elaine Campbell


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Long before Roland Barthes (1915-1980) became recognised as a major thinker of the French intellectual left, he had enjoyed popularity amongst the general public during the 1950s, becoming well-known for his readable and critically insightful articles on popular culture. An ongoing engagement and dialogue with different communities of readers and writers, and the modes of communication which connect them, was to become the hallmark of Barthes’s scholarship. Barthes’s early works position him within a tradition of structuralist approaches to culture, exemplified by his Saussurean reading of everyday life. Yet, as his scholarship advanced, he moved increasingly toward a poststructuralist perspective and rejected, if not virtually abandoned, the formalism of his earlier studies. Indeed, Barthes’s shifting and constantly evolving position makes it difficult to talk of a Barthesian school of thought. Encompassing contributions to existentialist, structuralist, semiotic, Marxist and poststructuralist ways of thinking, Barthes’s legacy can be traced across fields as diverse as literary theory, social theory, linguistics, photography, film studies, cultural studies, social anthropology, media and communication studies.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Campbell E

Editor(s): Bryan S. Turner, Chang Kyung-Sup, Cynthia F. Epstein, Peter Kivisto, J. Michael Ryan, and William Outhwaite

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social Theory

Year: 2017

Print publication date: 20/11/2017

Online publication date: 04/12/2017

Acceptance date: 02/04/2016

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd

Place Published: Oxford


DOI: 10.1002/9781118430873.est0570

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781118430873