An alternative approach, also deriving from de Saussure and Lévi Strauss.
Recall that De Saussure rejected the positivist conception of language as one of simple correspondence of words to objects but instead he saw meaning arising from the relation of the signifier to the thing signified. ``Semiotics'' was developed further by Roman Jacobson, Charles Morris and Roland Barthes, and was soon adopted into anthropology and sociology.
see intro at http://126.96.36.199/Arnason_DE/Saussure.html
Clifford Geertz - situatedness; thick description
Situated cognition (sec. )
All learning is in context; Meaning constructed within communities of practice; Learning as active participation in a practicing community; Knowledge constructed through activity in authentic situations; Cognition is mediated by artifacts and tools (the ``cultural repositories'' of knowledge); Cognitive tools include accepted forms of reasoning, rules, norms and belief systems as well as language; Historical context affects culture and therefore cognition; Interplay between individual and social levels of representations; Interaction between individual and social environment; Multiple constructions of self by an individual serve as tools for thinking and action.
Also see Hutchins, E. (1995) Cognition in the Wild Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.
For Structuralism and Semiotics in literary criticism (Roland Barthes) and Marxist philosophy (Louis Althusser) see http://www.heartfield.demon.co.uk/structure.htm
According Barthes, texts ``write'' authors, i.e. that specific genres of literature pre-exist the authors that contribute to them. The slogan of semiotics became ``The death of the author''.
In like manner Althusser rejected the subject as a category of social science: ideological structures generate the subject. The slogan of Althusserian structuralism was ``The death of the subject'' (and ``subjectivity'' in social science).