Read The Practice of Everyday Life by Michel de Certeau Steven F. Rendall Online


Michel de Certeau considers the uses to which social representation and modes of social behavior are put by individuals and groups, describing the tactics available to the common man for reclaiming his own autonomy from the all-pervasive forces of commerce, politics, and culture. In exploring the public meaning of ingeniously defended private meanings, de Certeau draws briMichel de Certeau considers the uses to which social representation and modes of social behavior are put by individuals and groups, describing the tactics available to the common man for reclaiming his own autonomy from the all-pervasive forces of commerce, politics, and culture. In exploring the public meaning of ingeniously defended private meanings, de Certeau draws brilliantly on an immense theoretical literature in analytic philosophy, linguistics, sociology, semiology, and anthropology--to speak of an apposite use of imaginative literature....

Title : The Practice of Everyday Life
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ISBN : 9780520236998
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 253 Pages
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The Practice of Everyday Life Reviews

  • Holly
    2018-12-28 11:55

    I teach this sucker, so there's gotta be some good in it, right? Oh, but it's beastly dense in classic French post-structuralist fashion. Some of it is beautiful - I love his reflection on traveling by rail, and while I prefer Henri Lefebvre's place-space distinction (it makes more intuitive sense that the empty homogeneous stuff would be space and the emotionally marked stuff would be place), the discussion of how maps serve to make abstraction from itineraries (i.e. lived experience) is quite thought provoking. Also note the length and meander of the previous sentence is EASY READING compared to what awaits whoever picks this up. Expect to work to get the point, and be prepared to wonder if the point is really so profound as to be worth so much struggle.

  • Elizabeth
    2019-01-02 12:57

    I'm giving this a full five stars while operating on the presumption that the parts I didn't understand are just as good as the parts I did. de Certeau is by no means an easy read, and I imagine a full comprehension of what he argues requires a facility with many more theorists and disciplines than I have (for example, I loved his critiques and analysis of Foucault and Bourdieu, but couldn't wrap my head around his discussions of Freud and Heidegger largely, I think, because my psychoanalysis and philosophy are somewhat fuzzy). That said, his willingness to address the impossibility of theory while also making a suggestion of the types of work that might replace it is refreshing. In essence, de Certeau wants people to embrace a practice-based way of looking at the world. He sees an emphasis on analyzing users' practices as a way to grant them agency and power that the traditional production-consumption model presumes nonexistent. He shows how this might look in the investigation of such "everyday practices" as walking in the city and reading, allowing metaphors of space and time to stand in for any attempts at generalizability. In this way, de Certeau is wildly successful at granting his subjects agency without, as he warns, allowing the particularities of their practices to become metonyms for all of existence.

  • Christopher
    2018-12-21 06:50

    I'm interested in what your professor expected you to get out of reading this. "By a paradox that is only apparent, the discourse that makes people believe is the one that takes away what it urges them to believe in, or never delivers what it promises." (105)When read as a series of aphorisms without a central initiating purpose to orient the reader, the reader is in the position of pure wanderer; i.e. when read in excerpt, the 110th floor view of the writing is hidden from the reader. If the goal is to make the place/space distinction, I'm left to consider the purpose of the dizzying turgidity of the prose. The point can be made clearer: that there exists no "place" without the subjective. There exists only an abstract mathematical space, in which nothing is prioritized, and in which no left or right obtain. The modalities of place are emergent distinctions of Dasein. Yet, place precedes space, in that the subjective phenomena of experience and its survival requisites must be met before an abstract Cartesian space can be posited by the subject. Smuggling this insight into the realm of engineering yields the builder as the manipulator of pure space, and the architect-city planner as the master of place. Both perspectives must be considered in creating a dwelling-place-space for humans: but what is left out of the discussion is the fragmentation and organic swelling of the city from the inside: the simultaneous independent builders whose summative actions are constitutive, but who have no access to the view from nowhere, let alone that of the 110th floor. Is the building of a text more akin to engineering or architecture? Awaiting your reply,K[note: this review is only of an excerpt, specifically, part III, chapter 7, “Walking the City”.]

  • Lauren
    2018-12-19 11:08

    Way too wordy, dense, and heady, but full of wonderful ideas that assume the agency and capability of regular people. We aren't just consumers! We are doing things! The world is terrible, but every day we are resisting in really small ways. Isn't that great to hear?

  • رغد قاسم
    2018-12-20 05:00

    كتاب مُرهق من كتب اللغة الجديدة :) كما أُسميها مُتعب بالنسبة لغير الأكاديميين لكن فِيهِ فلسفة جيدة .

  • Candy Wood
    2018-12-19 12:07

    If I needed an explanation for not going into sociology, this book would provide it. Do we need a 200-page book to examine “the practice of everyday life”? I feel a bit like the centipede worrying about which foot to start out on. Still, there are some interesting insights: the tiny chapter 8, “Railway Navigation and Incarceration,” could stand alone as an essay on the strange relationship to space experienced by passengers on a train, and I was surprised and delighted to find a reference to Vermont’s Shelburne Museum as an example of a place where used objects from the past evoke the “presence of absences” (21). Chapter 7, “Walking in the City,” interests me too, but I need more examples to understand de Certeau’s application of rhetorical terms to the practice of walking. The translation (by Steven Rendall) may be part of the problem, given that space, place, and location probably don’t have the same distinctions as the French words in the original, but my French isn’t up to trying to find out. Some peculiar spelling (hetereogeneous?) is also distracting. The book has thought-provoking references to reading, writing, and literature, though, making it worth the effort.

  • Christine
    2019-01-10 13:05

    I echo some of the previous readers' comments about the density and difficulty of De Certeau's sentences - I had to look up words in the dictionary 3 times in one sentence at some point, and this was at the graduate school level. However, I also love love his metaphor of walking in the city as a way of affirming individual ways of doing life, of seeing, of choosing, of practicing everyday life, in contrast to mainstream ways that society is constructed, as expressed in the metaphor by the set routes and paths laid out for us in a typical city grid. There are so many ways this idea applies to discourses of power, identity, memory and a myriad of other areas we look at in life and were challenged to look at in grad school. I want to take another stab at the way he approached Derrida - difficult but I think it will be worth mining for ideas.

  • Andrew
    2019-01-04 12:44

    OK, so I know this was very influential on the transition between the study of representation and production and the study of practice and use. Despite that, other than a few select chapters, I found the book borderline unreadable. I can handle Foucault, Barthes, and Baudrillard just fine, and while Deleuze/Guattari is a stretch, I can still do it. This, on the other hand, just struck me as unreadable, and largely bullshit. So I can't say I was a fan, you know?

  • Sagely
    2019-01-15 04:51

    I read de Certeau's PEL for a DMin course. Below find my "working outline" and reflections on the text.[Note: I found this difficult to follow—especially Parts 3-5. For this reason, my outline will be much briefer than for other texts.]General Introduction “Everyday life invents itself by poaching in countless ways on the property ofothers” (xii). The consumers/users of popular culture actively put the products of the producers to uses unforeseen/uncontrolled/unpredicted by the producers. The construction of individual sentences within an established syntax serves as a metaphor for this usage. Speech-act theory is helps sharpen this analysis of users reappropriation of producers’ products. These users, often rendered as powerless in scholarly discourse, constitute a marginalized, silent majority. These uses must be approached as tactics, making use of the (class-)enemies’/producers’ material to further the users’ ends as opportunity presents itself. “The place of the tactic belongs to the other” (xix). The lack of a “proper” place for the user is a recurring theme in the action of the users (as traveler, as reader, shopper, etc.). These are “arts” (as in “arts and crafts”) of cunning (cf. Gk mêtis). Usage can be analyzed both polemeologically and rhetorically.Pt 1 A Very Ordinary CultureCh 1 A Common Place: Ordinary Language The products of producers are rendered by the voice of “everyman” into an “indefinite citation of the other” (1). Literatures (and other productions) becomes an echo of “everyone,” the anonymous Other. This occurs even for the (scientific) Expert and the Philosopher, who give up their definite place the moment they seek to represent that place to ordinary people, sinking into either a practice of the ordinary/generality (the Philosopher) or a mere echo of their proper field, abandoned in favor of authority for the ordinary person (the Expert). Wittgenstein tracked this with regard to language, intending “to bring words back from their metaphysical to their everyday use” by drawing its limits “from the inside” of this language (9). Wittgenstein’s project offers a model for how to discuss the ordinary.Ch 2 Popular Cultures: Ordinary Language A turn to polemeological analysis, focalized by Brazilian popular devotion to Frei Damião. Believers here subvert colonial religion “by using [the very] frame of reference which also proceeds from [the] external power. ... They re-employ a system” (17) (= tactics). It is not the content employed so much as the use to which they are put. (Compare J L Austin to Lévi- Strauss regarding proverbs.) We the “operator’s way of operating” (21) illustrated in the games people play in society, the accounts the tell of playing these games, and the individual “style” evident in these accounts. (Cf. la perruque.)Ch 3 “Making Do”: Uses and Tactics “Ways of operating” for oneself can be located and analyzed within the activities mandated by those in power, superimposing a new space and new meaning on the received cultural forms. Consumption itself can be understood an alternative mode of production. These uses of cultural products can be analyzed in a way parallel to enunciation within speech-act theory. [Pp 34-42 then repeat, sometimes expanded, often verbatim, the Introduction, regarding tactics.]Pt 2 Theories of the Art of PracticeCh 4 Foucault and BourdieuSituating TPoEL in the scholarly conversation, de Certeau first takes up Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish and the relation of these uses and the discourse within which they might be placed. Foucault establishes how a non-discursive move (the arrangement of inmates as observable information within the institutional space) “organize[s] the discursive space” (46). De Certeau interrogates Foucault’s procedures in selecting this non-discursive move over against so many others that “have not given rise to a discursive configuration” (47), a “‘reserve’ of procedures” that include consumer practices; in narrating a coherence in the effects of this move; and with regard to the wider effects of so narrating this move on the unnarrated practices. Next de Certeau turns to Pierre Bourdieu’s use of ethnography in establishing a “theory of practice.” For Bourdieu, even while he gestures to deny, ethnological particularities are subsumed and transformed by theory in the name of bringing the two together. “It is a delicate maneuver, which consists in fitting the ‘ethnological’ exception into an empty space in the sociological system” (52). Particularities are located in their “proper place” (55). In this move, the ethnologies (e.g., Bourdieu) becomes the Expert who is the one who knows what the society knows without the society knowing it. A tactics of use cannot be well accounted by such an approach.Ch 5 The Arts of Theory Foucault and Bourdieu demonstrate a common recipe for constructing theory from the reserve of everyday life: “first, cut out; then turn over. First an ‘ethnological’ isolation; then a logical inversion” (62). Cutting out involves marking out and narrowing focus on a population or set of practices foreign to the discourse, framed as a coherent whole (Foucault’s panoptic procedures; Bourdieu’s strategies of Béarn or Kabylia). This cut out element is then inverted so that it “illuminates theory and sustains discourse” (63). (Here theory itself shows up as a way of operating, just like the ways of operating it operates on.) Next, reflection on the “arts” that fall outside of discourse, as discussed in the late-18th century. These arts comprise the outside, beyond of discourse, a position to which scientific discourse has yet fully to catch up. In this position, the arts constitute a knowledge that has “no legitimacy with respect to productivist rationality” (69), at home only in narrative, not in discourse. These arts constitute a know-how reflected in Kant’s description of tightrope dancers: “constant readjustment renews the balance while giving the impression of ‘keeping’ it” (73). That is, a tactical (tactful?) know-how.Ch 6 Story Time Crafting narratives is a “textual ‘way of operating’” (78) that may render the ways theory is produced within other ways of operating. Stories are a form of know-how, a “know-how-to- say” (78). Narration works by cutting out a space apart from the “real,” through many narrative techniques (establishing setting, quotation, etc.)—it is a matter of “effects, not objects” (79). Détienne exemplifies this in Greek myths—“They constitute an act which they intend to mean. There is no need to add a gloss that knows what they express without knowing it” (80). The mêtis of the ancient Greeks represents a kind of knowing equal to this narration, “a form of intelligence that is always ‘immersed in practice’” (81). Mêtis allows less force applied from a rich reserve of memory at the very right moment to create a greater effect (see diagrams, 83ff.). Memory here is tactical—manipulated by exterior circumstances, momentary in action, and ceaselessly evolving.Pt 3 Spatial Practices In chs 7 through 9, de Certeau begins to utilize and/or destabilize a theory of uses of space. Walking constitutes the city just as it is constituted by it. Walking approached as a speech- act. Places established by our memories of it. An excursive reflection on railway travel as establishign nonplace. Stories as vehicles of public transportation, metaphorai, moving us into spaces as “practiced places” (117) (Cf. Heidegger) (Cf. narrated tours versus maps). Stories create space and mark out and transcend boundaries through conflict.Pt 4 Uses of Language In chs 10 through 12, attention shifts to the uses of language. The reproduction and inscription of language distances it from the people and from the voice, subjugating and colonizing the voice—a domination, however, that is slipping. Writing produces in its own proper place (the blank page, physically, politically, medically) power over the voice from which it is drawn. Writing thus establishes a new mythology. (Cf. Robinson Crusoe.) This inscription requires instruments to mark bodies or pages. But these very instruments testify to the persistence of the body, the voice. “Epistemological configurations are never replaced by the appearance of new orders; they compose strata that form the bedrock of the present” (146). The cry of pain or pleasure, escaping as these instruments mark the body/page, hinted at by Kafka and Duchamp. The fleeting memory of voice persists in quotations—both as pre-text for writing and as interpretation of writing. Writing writes down what has been said, only to be voiced again as it is read and interpreted. The spoken escapes the oversight of langue. It must be translated into text: “The voice makes people write” (161). But also note the way in which voice interprets or plays with the meaning of text, as in Verdi’s mad aria for Lady Macbeth. Reading, even silently, displays this interplay of the uses the practice of reading places the text to (as the eye lurches and stumbles across the page, as the mind flits to and fro intertextually and allusively). Reading is less an activity of information than of provoked misunderstanding. Literal meanings are the imposition of the will of the elite: Reading is thus situated at the point where social stratification (class relationships) and poetic operations (the practitioner’s constructions of a text) intersect: a social hierarchization seeks to make the reader conform to the ‘information’ distributed by an elite (or semi-elite); reading operations manipulate the reader by insinuating their inventiveness into the crocks in cultural orthodoxy. (172, a fine summary of how use of cultural products play out)Pt 5 Ways of Believing Institutions of faith (church, synagogue, party) depend on the vestiges of belief and on the “erosion itself of every conviction, ... the absence of a stronger credibility that draws [believers] elsewhere” (178)—inertia. The reserves of belief as act have been exhausted, but this effects a dispersion of belief into diaspora—whether by marketers, leftist political organizers, any who “speak in the name of reality” (185). Churches represent merely on expression of the activity of belief and its objects. There what was invisible was to be believed as really real; now (e.g., on television) what is seen, even if known not to be real, is often believed to be really real. Dying is an unthinkable practice—it “falls outside the thinkable, which is identified with what one can do” (190). Dying presents a “subject without actions and [an] operation without author” (191). Shunted away, death turns to “exotic language” (192)—euphemisms, circumlocutions. But believing or speaking of death means believing or speaking of the Other. Still in writing, literary, scientific, therapeutic, death cannot named with permanence, as the very writing (paper, bodies) wears thin and dies away. Writing is mourning. Writing takes place (tactically) on enemy territory.Indeterminate “It is through [everyday practices] that an uncodeable difference insinuates itself into the happy relation the system would like to have with the operations it claims to administers. Far from being a local, and thus classifiable, revolt, it is a common and silent, almost sheeplike subversion—our own” (200). This is evident in place as palimpsest and in narrated, “casual” time

  • Linda Stewart
    2018-12-22 10:55

    When I read the first paragraph of the introduction, I knew I had found a theoretical home. Michel de Certeau's "investigation of the ways in which users--commonly assumed to be passive and guided by established rules--operate" is about freedom, resistance, access, and the art of "dwelling" in the everyday. Reading de Certeau validated all the ways I have been teaching inductively. My practice was found in his theory. A reversal of good fortune. Be certain to read Chapter 7 - "Walking in the City" in Part III - Spatial Practices. I return to this text time and again for understanding about everyday life, which "invents itself by poaching in countless ways on the property of others" (xii). Can't put a date that I "finished" this book. It's an ongoing visit.

  • ThienVinh
    2019-01-02 07:56

    Hard to understand at first, but as you keep reading it, it starts making sense. de Certeau looks at how ordinary people through their everyday practices and embodied experiences reclaim their autonomy, and resist power structures.

  • Meaghen
    2019-01-15 07:56

    This is the first time I've ever read a work of theory and felt like I was hearing my own thoughts, more clearly articulated, more grounded in the literature, but expressing impressions and preoccupations that were my own. I will reread it, quote it, act on it.

  • Jacqueline
    2018-12-26 09:03

    Revisiting de Certeau for my diss revisions - helpful, frustrating, and thought-provoking all at once.

  • Dwight Davis
    2018-12-23 11:42

    One of the most dense books I've ever read, contrary to a title that leads one to think of a simple meditation. What de Certeau offers us is an analysis of practices of everyday life (i.e. walking in a city, riding a train, reading, writing, etc.) that show that these practices carry with them technologies that shape the subject. Assuming that I am reading correctly, the argument seems to be that everyday life is itself beholden to the forces of capital and the State. I found de Certeau's reflections on walking in New York City to be beautifully fascinating. The chapter "The Scriptural Economy" where he lays out precisely how the law inscribes itself on bodies through incarceral and medical practices (echoing Foucault but going further) was one of the most clear and incisive analyses I've read on social construction and bodies. I'll have to revisit this work quite a few more times. There was a lot that I couldn't grasp, that went over my head. I felt out of my depth in much of the book. But the bits I do (think) I understand were fantastic and rewarding.

  • Michael Lew
    2018-12-30 08:45

    An essential piece to understand Lyon and its history (the impact of Jacquard's invention on the programming of mechanical looms and the silk industry) which leads to contemporary concepts of what Prof. Eric von Hippel calls user-driven innovation.

  • Rebecca Zheng
    2019-01-10 12:54

    Thought-provoking, well-written response to the Frankfurt School's ideologies (and in particular, the writings of Horkheimer and Adorno)

  • Matthijs Driesen
    2018-12-26 04:49

    The writing is too thick. As usual with French intellectuals, he ought to have stepped off his high horse and sieved his language a little more. But I guess that to publish in France, it is mandatory to beat about the bush. If your understanding of French isn't very advanced, do find a translation, because this is a tough read. I read it three times, making notes. It is a shame that the reading experience is so very painful, because the points De Certeau makes are -very- interesting. In fact, he appears rather prescient and what he says is remarkably relevant today, hyperbole of yesterday, which De Certeau has isolated so very keenly.Some of the chapters reference to other thinkers a little gratuitously and unnecessarily, I feel. He would have done well to focus more on his own ideas -worthwhile in their own right- more, keeping the thread of his thoughts spun more cohesively. Because it is at times hard to focus on the whole through the disheveled rags of his story. This book is, of course, only the groundwork for the later works, which I am looking forward to reading.Michel de Certeau is social theory at its best. Anyone that desires an understanding of how society operates, ought to read this book. I find him overly optimistic at times, on the subject of the creative leeway we are left with, especially with reference to information technology and virtual life today. But it is great to have someone contradict me in these matters. In this regard, I also prefer the later Foucault over the earlier one. I do wish these two men would have been around today, so I could read their opinions. Where are the great theorists today?

  • Mbarak
    2019-01-06 10:04

    الكتاب في مستواه متفاوت ما بين الممل جدا والرائع جدا.الأجزاء المملة هي بشكل عام القسمين الأولين و أجزاء من القسم الثالث والرابع (الكتاب يقع في خمسة أجزاء(. في هذه الأجزاء يكثر الحشو والتكرار و الدخول في تفاصيل مؤلفات و أبحاث أخرى قد لا يكون القارئ ملما بأي منها. هذه الأجزاء لا تستحق أكثر من نجمتين في التقييم.لكن الأقسام الباقية هي بحق مذهلة وممتعة، بالذات بداية القسم الثالث (في الكلام عن المسارات في المدينة) و نهاية القسم الرابع (القراءة: اصطياد) ومرورا بكامل القسم الخامس (طرائق في الاعتقاد) و حتى الخاتمة بل لآخر جملة في الكتاب.الفكرة الإجمالية للكتاب هي أن وضع المستهلك في مقام دوني دائما ووصفه بالمتلقي والمستقبِل فقط غير صحيح. من خلال عرض أمثلة لأنواع ممن يمكن اعتبارهم مستهلكين (القارئ مستهلك للكتاب – الموظف مستهلك بالنسبة للسلطة سواء كانت خاصة أم حكومية – الماشي مستهلك للمدينة و ما تحتويه من شوارع و مبان) يبين أن عمليات الاستهلاك هذه تحتوي قدرا فريدا من الإبداع والذي قد لا يتوقعه مصمم المنتَج (الكاتب أو صاحب النفوذ أو مصمم المدينة). الفكرة تدعو للتأمل كثيرا وقد تفيد من لديهم اهتمام بالتصميم و الإبداع أيا كان نوعهما.ترجمة الكتاب جيدة، قد تكون اللغة صعبة في بعض الأحيان لكن في اعتقادي ترجع إلى صعوبة الموضوع و اللغة الأصلية للنص. قرأت الكثير من الانتقاد الشديد على الترجمة الانجليزية ما دفعني لقراءة النسخة العربية والتي لم أر فيها ما قيل عن الترجمة الانجليزية.الكتاب يحتاج شيئا من الصبر حتى ينتفع القارئ به، لكنه يتناول موضوعا فريدا يستحق هذا الصبر.

  • Micha
    2018-12-24 04:52

    This is a book I recommended frequently to people without actually having read, given that a classmate of mine back in the Medieval Spatial Theory course had explained parts of it very persuasively. It was hard to find in stores so I bought it online, and found it a very beautiful (and very deliciously-smelling) book. I read most of this in the Dublin airport (side-by-side with The Last Unicorn) which might be pretty fitting when you've got a book thinking about even our interactions with space as codifiers of social behaviour. I think it's one that I've got to go over again in smaller sections to really get to the meat of different chapters. But I'm glad to now have read the book and am better able to justify recommendations, rather than interpreting an interpretation (though I still will always love & think foremost of that friend's take on the book--I could not help but read it through his lens and I think always will).

  • Miguel Soto
    2019-01-06 07:40

    El día a día, ignorado por las disciplinas más elevadas, es sin embargo la fuente de las estructuras sociales y personales. En esa cotidianeidad las personas se las ingenian, se las arreglan con lo que tienen, con todo y a pesar de que las élites encargadas de estructurar la situación traten de hacerles el bobo. Retomando numerosos ejemplos y puntualizaciones teóricas (en especial foucaultianas y freudianas), nos podemos acercar un poco a conocer esas tácticas, esas artes de hacer de la gente de a pie, de los caminantes de la ciudad."Pero allí donde el aparato científico (el nuestro) llega a compartir la ilusión de los poderes con los que necesariamente se solidariza, es decir allí donde llega a suponer a las multitudes transformadas por las conquistas y las victorias de una producción expansionista, siempre es bueno recordar que a la gente no debe juzgársele idiota".

  • kayla reed
    2019-01-13 09:55

    This was awesome- some of his analyses are incredibly beautiful. Some are completely incomprehensible. I advice following the translator's advice (from my edition at least) and reading parts 3-5 before reading 1-2. I didn't and 1-2 were very confusing and theoretical and I had a difficult time following much, especially not knowing a ton about the context in which the book was written. However, parts 3-5 were very enjoyable and moving to read. Would highly recommend if you're interested in philosophy, but be ready for a very tough dense read, and make sure you have a dictionary with you the whole time.

  • Daniela
    2019-01-14 04:56

    The Practice of Everyday Life is a tribute to the ingenuity of the everyday person. It's a set of essays, and should be read this way (he seems to contradict himself - at time a structuralist and at other time a post-structuralist). He describe contemporary societies as transforming from verbal to visual. The ordinary (the ants, the weak) cope with their circumstances by being creative and circumventing the cards they are dealt. He believes people in everyday life don't follow scripts but they create something given the circumstances they are confronted, thus distinguishing himself from others (e.g. Goffman) who claim we're operating within scripts created by the culture.

  • John Carter McKnight
    2019-01-11 12:39

    As rewarding as it is challenging, this should be required reading for anyone in the humanities or social sciences. The Practice of Everyday Life is a turn from "producer studies" in the humanities and STS, turning the focus from authors, designers and engineers to the user. Excellent set of tools for thinking about games, "piracy," remix culture and a wide range of topics of contemporary interest.No short review can do this magesterial work justice. Read it. Just be warned, it's *very* dense and challenging.

  • Dimitri
    2019-01-07 11:57

    'Like the skill of a driver in the streets of Rome or Naples, there is a skill that has its connoisseurs and its esthetics exercised in any labyrinth of powers, a skill ceaselessly recreating opacities and ambiguities - spaces of darkness and trickery - in the universe of technocratic transparency, a skill that disappears into them and reappears again, taking no responsibility for the administration of a totality. Even the field of misfortune is refashioned by this combination of manipulation and enjoyment.' (18)

  • Sarah Pearlstein
    2018-12-25 07:38

    So far - I feel like DeCerteau was a kind of a wonder - he spoke about resistance from a peculiarly Catholic/Decon. subjectivity - he self-negates by privileging the spoken word above the written life of the letter, as being the realm of voices and, in a sense, revelation.... He strikes me (without having read much Levinas) as being an almost New Testament version of Derrida's Levinas, at least..... I look forward to reading more of him!

  • Teresa
    2019-01-08 05:57

    I found it rather uneven. Sometimes de Certeau keeps himself on track and other times it seems like he's just torturing his point or engaging in flights of fancy. There's also something that feels wrong about writing about the Common Man and how he uses language in such convoluted prose that is quite difficult to decipher. The book moves from Freud and Wittgenstein to a more direct statement about texts/reading/writing.

  • Lotte
    2018-12-19 06:41

    Interessante theorie over hoe consumenten geen hersenloze schapen zijn, maar juist onbewust en actief omgaan met wat de technocratische macht hen voorschotelt. Zo schrijven we en mythuseren we de stad door shortcuts te nemen bv. Had alleen wel 80% korter kunnen zijn, had de Certeau de obligate woordspelingen en parodieën kunnen laten. Helaas, als epigoon van het Frans post-structuralisme kon de Certeau dat blijkbaar niet loslaten. Kortom: verrijkend voor doorbijters.

  • Megan Adams
    2019-01-16 11:01

    DeCerteau's ideas about looking at the stories inherent in histories. Although his prose can be hard to follow at times (he is a french philosopher). I think his overall claims about the powers of discourse, and the composition of theory and everyday life as a series of stories is helpful and intriguing to consider. I plan to give this book a closer read in order to consider his ideas thoughtfully; it's definitely a book to make time to sit with.

  • Z
    2019-01-11 12:49

    I was sceptical when I first saw a class on 'Everyday Life' at my university, but intrigued enough to enrol in it. This book, much like the class, was long and difficult - though it completely changed the way I write about phenomenology in other classes. An eye-opening look that, in the very least, challenges the ordinary, and, at best, will alter paradigms.

  • Andee Nero
    2019-01-12 12:42

    I think this book is important as far as its analysis of the human condition, but the translation I read was very difficult to navigate. It used too many archaic words, which is funny, considering that the book examines word usage. Then again, I make this criticism of all of the post structural writers.