structural determinism

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1. In classical Marxist theory, the subordination of the social ‘superstructure’ to the techno-economic ‘base’: see base and superstructure; see also economism.

2. The stance that the pre-given structure of some signifying system—such as language or any kind of textual system—determines the subjectivity (or at least behaviour) of individuals who are subjected to it. Althusser was a structural determinist in this sense (see interpellation). This anti-humanist position contrasts with perspectives stressing the role of human agency.

Subjects: Media Studies.

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