Structuralism is a mode of thinking and a method of analysis practiced in 20th-century social sciences and humanities.
Methodologically, it analyzes large-scale systems by examining the relations and functions of the smallest constituent elements of such systems, which range from human languages and cultural practices to folktales and literary texts.
In the field of linguistics，the structuralist work of Ferdinand de Saussure long served as model and inspiration.
Characteristic of structuralist thinking,
Saussure's linguistic inquiry was centered not on speech itself but on the underlying rules and conventions enabling language to operate.
Analyzing the social or collective dimension of language rather than individual speech, he pioneered and promoted
study of grammar rather than usage,
rules rather than expressions,
models rather than data,
langue语言 (language) rather than parole 言语(speech).
Levi-Strauss specified four procedures basic to structuralism. wwW.tiNGlikU.Com
1）Structural analysis examines unconscious infrastructures 基层结构of cultural phenomena;
2）It regards the elements of infrastructures as “relational,” not as independent entities实体
3）It attends single-mindedly to system;
4）It propounds (proposes) general laws accounting for the underlying organizing patterns of phenomena.