CFP: Merleau-Ponty and Structuralism

Acta Structuralica Special Issue no 2

Edited by Beata Stawarska (University of Oregon) and Patrick Flack (Central-European Institute of Philosophy, Prague)

Call for Papers

Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961) was without a doubt a philosopher belonging to the phenomenological movement who entertained the closest and most productive ties with structuralism. From his early interest in Gestalt psychology and his discovery of Saussure’s structural linguistics to his lifelong friendship with the structuralist anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss and his often overlooked influence on the founder of deconstruction, Jacques Derrida, one notes multiple and crucially significant points of contact between Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy and structuralist and post-structuralist thought. Merleau-Ponty’s untimely death in 1961 and his absence from the highly polemical and influential debates between the French structuralists and the « existential » or « hermeneutical » phenomenologists (Ricoeur, Sartre) undoubtedly contributed to an institutionalized antagonism between the traditions of phenomenology and structuralism (and post-structuralism); it also limited scholarly interest in the structuralist dimension of Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy since the latter emerges as an accident or an anomaly on the antagonistic view.

This issue seeks to trouble the purported divide between phenomenology and structuralism (and post-structuralism), and to bring overdue attention to the structuralist inheritance and the post-structuralist potential of Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy. Specifically, and following in the footsteps of the first special issue of Acta Structuralica dedicated to Phenomenology and Structuralism (ed. by Simone Aurora & Rossana de Angelis), we invite contributions on topics including but not limited to:

Merleau-Ponty and structuralism:

  • The influence of structural linguistics (Saussure, Jakobson, Hjelmslev, Benvéniste) on Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy
  • Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy of language at the intersection of phenomenology and structuralism
  • Gestalt psychology and phenomenology
  • Merleau-Ponty and Lévi-Strauss
  • The concept of expression (e.g. in Husserl, Jakobson, Merleau-Ponty, etc.)
  • Structuralist and Merleau-Pontian aesthetics
  • Structural approaches to the problem of embodiment (e.g. S. J. Schmidt, J.-C. Coquet, etc.)

Merleau-Ponty and post-structuralism:

  • Merleau-Ponty and post-structuralist feminism (Irigaray, Butler, Grosz)
  • Merleau-Ponty and Derrida (for example, the relation between Merleau-Ponty’s and Derrida’s theories of signification as developed in their works devoted to Husserl’s The Origin of Geometry; Derrida’s favorable treatment of Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy of the flesh in his later writings)
  • Merleau-Ponty and Deleuze (specifically on structure, sign, expression)
  • Intersection of notions such as chiasm/ecart and differance

Submission deadlines:

Please send a one page abstract to by March 1st 2017 to be considered for inclusion.

If your abstract is accepted (notification by March 15th), please send in your full paper by September 15th 2017.

Please note that full papers will undergo a single open peer-review before final acceptance.


Issue Editors: Beata Stawarska or Patrick Flack.

Journal Editor: Simone Aurora

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