ppressive policies of the USSR contributed to popular disillusionment with orthodox Marxism. As a result, there was increased interest in alternative radical philosophies, including feminism, western Marxism, anarchism, phenomenology, and nihilism. These disparate perspectives were all linked by being critical of dominant Western philosophy and culture. Post-structuralism offered a means of justifying these criticisms, by exposing the underlying assumptions of many Western norms . For the emergence of post-structuralism was, undoubtedly, the rediscovery of Nietzsche s writings by a group of French thinkers, along with their structuralist readings of Freud and Marx. Where Marx was seen to play out the theme of power in his work, and Freud gave a conceptual priority to the notion of desire, Nietzsche was read as a philosopher who did not prioritize or subordinate one concept over the other. His philosophy offered a way forward that combined an examination of both power and desire. s philosophy offered a critique of truth and an emphasis upon the plurality of interpretation; it stressed the idea of вЂ‹вЂ‹style and the way in which style is central both philosophically and aesthetically in overcoming oneself in a process of perpetual self-becoming; and it emphasized relations of power and knowledge through the concept of the will to power and its manifestations as will to truth and will to knowledge. The French post-structuralist adopted these themes experimented with them in novel ways [10, p.18]. Key figures in the early post-structuralist movement were Jacques Derrida and Roland Barthes. Although Barthes was originally a structuralist, during the 1960s he increasingly favored post-structuralist views. In 1968, Barthes published The Death of the Author in which he announced a metaphorical event: the death of the author as an authentic source of meaning for a given text. Barthes argued that any literary text has multiple meanings, and that the author was not the prime source of the work's semantic content. The Death of the Author , Barthes maintained, was the Birth of the Reader , as the source of the proliferation of meanings of the text.
The second key figure in the development of post-structuralism in the late 1960s is the philosopher Jacques Derrida. Indeed, the starting point of post-structuralism may be taken as his 1966 lecture Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences . In this paper Derrida sees in modern times a particular intellectual even which constitutes a radical break from past ways of thought, loosely associating this break with the philosophy of Nietzsche and Heidegger and the psychoanalysis of Freud. The event concerns the decentring of our intellectual universe. Prior to this event the existence of a norm or centre in all things was taken for granted: thus man , as the Renaissance slogan had it, was the measure of all other things in the universe: white Western norms of dress, behaviour, architecture, intellectual outlook, and so on, provided a firm centre against which deviations, aberrations, variations could be detected and identified as span> Other and marginal. In the twentieth century, however, these centres were destroyed or eroded; sometimes this was caused by historical events - such as the way the First World War destroyed the illusion of steady material progress, or the way the Holocaust destroyed the notion of Europe as the source and centre of human civilisation; sometimes it happened because of scientific discoveries - such as the way the notion of relativity destroyed the ideas of time and space as fixed and central absolutes; and sometimes, finally, it was caused by intellectual or artistic revolutions - such as the way modernism in the arts in the first thirty years of the century rejected such central absolutes as harmony in music, chronological sequence in narrative, and the representation of the visual world in art [1, p.64]. the resulting universe there are no absolutes or fixed points, so that the universe we live in is decentred or inherently relativistic. Instead of movement or deviation from a known centre, all we have is play