In this incisive book, Michel de Certeau considers the uses to which social representation and modes of social behavior are put by individuals and ...Show synopsisIn this incisive book, 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 brilliantly on an immense theoretical literature to speak of an apposite use of imaginative literature.Hide synopsis
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The thesis of this book, that ordinary people find ordinary ways to subvert the hegemony of urban existence through "cracks" in the order, relies on a wide range of examples and bedrock theoreticians. If you are up for climbing out of the darkness of his obscure references to Foucault, Durkheim, Lacan, etc., to be rewarded with splendid, illuminating moments of clarity, this is worth it. I found the descriptions of walking through the city of New York particularly useful for thinking about the way culture circulates, how architectural planning is both prohibitive and liberating, and for considering space/time as more than just a map, trajectory, or record of passing. I would think this work is useful for everyone from Art Historians to Anthropologists, Literary Critics to Psychoanalysts, Area Studies to Performance Studies.
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