In Psychology and Philosophy, Structuralism was an initial outcome through the Linguistic Turn in Thought, later leading to Post-Structuralism and Deconstruction.
The Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure proposed that that definitions of concepts cannot exist independently from a linguistic system defined by difference; a concept of something cannot exist without being named.
It's through the differential relationships between meanings that we structure our perception. For instance, there is no real table except insofar as we are manipulating symbolic systems. We would not even be able to recognize a chair as a chair without simultaneously recognising that a chair is not everything else. Thus, a large part of what we think of as reality is really a convention of naming and characterising, a convention which is itself called language.
Roland Barthes wrote: "structural man takes the real then decomposes it, then recomposes it.” Roland Barthes describes the structural aspects of language in The Structural Activity. He describes structures as Simulacrum, a recomposed copy of an illusory original, whereby language poses two different ways of breaking down an object: 1. through dissection of the object 2. through a recomposition of new objects as we articulate them in language.
Based on this, when we speak or write anything, we have created or structured a World.
In Barthes idea, words aren’t just static objects anymore, but are structuralist and deconstructive processes. Through words, a Structuralism happens through the generation of meanings that aren’t just transmitted from author to reader or speaker to listener. Words are generative, perpetually signifying something new.
In Deconstruction, a sign generates its meanings, connotations and its contradictions. For example, Light means nothing without its opposing Darkness. When we utter the word “Light,” the word contains an associative “Trace” of what it does not mean, bringing up concepts that are negative absences within the presence of “Light.” In Deconstruction, the “Trace” is the mark that makes present all absent presences, which exposes arche-writing as a hidden Pure Language inside everyday language. Any word or concept in this light, evokes Pure Language, so that the act of speaking or writing it simultaneously destroys and creates reality through our natural evocation of the infinite meanings in Arche-Writing.
The many movements in Structuralism often lead to the notion that language 'constitutes' reality, a position contrary to intuition and to most of the Western tradition of philosophy. The traditional view (what Derrida called the 'metaphysical' core of Western thought) saw words as functioning labels attached to concepts. According to this view, there is something like 'the real chair', which exists in some external reality and corresponds roughly with a concept in human thought, chair, to which the linguistic word "chair" refers.