Candy Wood's Reviews > The Practice of Everyday Life

The Practice of Everyday Life by Michel de Certeau
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Mar 15, 2012

Read from March 03 to 15, 2012

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.
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