Are Barthes and Saussure Alike in Some Aspects of Theory?

In The Structural Activity Barthes tries to explain the word Structuralism. Structuralism is seen as a mode of thought that “refers to the linguistic model that was originated by Saussure’s theory that deals with economics, linguistics, and the science of structure.” Not only is structuralism complex and has many different working parts but it also involves a second part that includes history, and the immobilization of time. When I think of the second part to the definition of structuralism I think of the historical time period in which you are analyzing a text. The historical aspects play a role in analyzing the text because the text has historical references in it. The more modern structuralism is noted to be during Marxism. I found this interesting because Marxist theory deals with the political, social and economic policies that Karl Marx was questioning during the 18th century. His theories questioned religion in regards to scientific facts. Structuralism cannot be put into one solitary category such as Marxism but it has a series of concepts and cannot be associated with only one school or movement such as Marxism. Marxism is only one way we can see structuralism play out in theory. Structuralism is broken down in order for one to understand the goals of structuralism which is known as the structuralism activity. What exactly does this mean? Well Barthes explains that a structuralism activity involves dissection and articulation. These two terms used to show a change an actual meaning in a text. The actual meaning of the text can be interpreted as an allegorical meaning that is hidden in the text that reveals more than just its elements. Like Saussures theory of linguistics both theorists try to find the allegorical meaning of a text through the historical aspects by looking further into the text by breaking it down into different parts. When Barthes tries to explain how the dissection operation part works in structuralism he states that “The dissection operation thus produces an initial dispersed state of the simulacrum, but the units of the structure are not all anarchic before being distributed and fixed in the continually of the composition, each one forms with its own virtual group or reservoir an intelligent organism, subject to a sovereign motor principle: that of the least difference.” What I thought the dissection process referred to as when one tries to come up with the image of structure in a text it is not controlled or has any rules or principles in the way that it is supposed to be broken down into. Each part that is being dissected is formed in its own group that has a certain principle that has more similarities than differences. The question that I have is whether or not this dissection is within one text or a medium or several texts that are being analyzed in reference to one another? If the structuralism activity does in fact involve several texts that are being viewed and analyzed for their allegorical meanings that have a connection this reminds me of Saussure’s theory that involves looking at several texts elements/themes throughout history that have the same myths. The difference is that Barthes has a method for analyzing the text in a way that not only focuses on a historical aspect of a text but also its different themes and ideas. The second part to the structuralism activity involves the articulation. The way in which the linguistics aspects of a texts forms meaning. This also reminds me of Saussure’s theory because he was very much involved with analyzing how language and words are thought of and produced. Barthes is concerned with the meanings of certain words and the historical and contingent variables of the words. The difference between Barthes and Saussure is that Barthes is interested in the fabrication of meaning in a text than the meaning of a word itself. Barthes also believes that a text is a work and that the work itself has one identity. So does this mean that the work is not looked at an analyzed with several other works? This is where Barthes and Saussure are very much different in terms of their theories.