Subjectivity and normativity in the early Soviet Russian structuralism

Publication Type:


Transliteration of original Title: 
Sub"ektivnost' i normativnost': rannii sovetskii strukturalizm
Marc Maesschalck
Center for the Philosophy of Law, Catholic University of Louvain
Oleg Bernaz
Center for Philosophy of Law, Catholic University of Louvain
Issue number: 
No.1 (Vol.55)

In this paper, our analysis lays on two different levels. Firstly, we discuss the central concepts of the early Russian structuralism within an epistemological framework focusing on the way in which linguistic knowledge is structured. In order to achieve this goal, we mobilize the concept of episteme developed by Michel Foucault in his works The Order of Things (1966) and The Archaeology of Knowledge (1969). This Foucauldian approach leads us to highlight a new episteme which is different from those that Foucault described in the Order of Things. Secondly, we analyze the political and social implications of this epistemological approach in the context of European and (post)colonial history. We highlight the material “action” of the linguistic knowledge under discussion. This second dimension of our approach is important insofar it represents a critic of the idea according to which the theoretical knowledge is separated from praxis. Our hypothesis is that the language constitutes a marker of particular social interests, which are overdetermined by power relations.


subjectivity, normativity, structuralism, episteme, phonology, geo-linguistics

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