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  A framework which determines the ways in which problems are identified within a discourse, and which thereby \'appears\' in the concepts and evidences through which they are realized. The term comes from Jacques Martin, but it gained prominence through Louis Althusser\'s \'symptomatic\' reading of Marx, in which he tried to uncover the system of concepts at work behind the evident form of the various texts and, in particular, to identify an epistemological break in which Marx was supposed to have made the transition from ideology to science (see structural Marxism). As such, the concept owes much to modern structuralism, so that while there are a number of superficial similarities between them it is in fact very different from the Kuhnian concept of a paradigm. Although the term is widely used as a convenient shorthand, particularly in Marxist theory, Althusser\'s particular usage has been subject to several criticisms, and most especially for a conflation of the external processes, through which a discourse is produced, and its own internal structure of dependence and connection (see, e.g. Hindess, 1977). (DG)

Reference Hindess, B. 1977: Philosophy and methodology in the social sciences. Brighton: Harvester. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press

Suggested Reading Glucksmann, M. 1974: Structuralist analysis in contemporary social thought. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 3-10.



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