Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

The Practice of Everyday Life

Volume 2

1998
Authors:

Michel de Certeau, Luce Giard, and Pierre Mayol
Translated by Timothy J. Tomasik

The Practice of Everyday Life

The final volume in de Certeau’s magnum opus.

This social history of “making do” is based on microhistories that move from the private sphere (of dwelling, cooking, and homemaking) to the public (the experience of living in a neighborhood). The second volume of this magnum opus delves even deeper than did the first into the subtle tactics of resistance and private practices that make living a subversive art.

This is a work of impressive richness, both on the level of the methodology of the human sciences and on that of an analysis of cultural practices in a specific setting and milieu whose familiarity is here transformed into an opportunity to see ourselves anew. The Practice of Everyday Life, Volume 2 brings to light an aspect of the work of Michel de Certeau—his commitment to collective research—that by their nature his individually authored volumes can hardly communicate as clearly. In the work of his collaborators Giard and Mayol it will make available the specific research results and an expanded practical account of a methodology that will be of intense interest to anyone working in the area of cultural studies today.

Richard Terdiman, University of California, Santa Cruz

To remain unconsumed by consumer society—this was the goal, pursued through a world of subtle and practical means, that beckoned throughout the first volume of The Practice of Everyday Life. The second volume of the work delves even deeper than did the first into the subtle tactics of resistance and private practices that make living a subversive art. Michel de Certeau, Luce Giard, and Pierre Mayol develop a social history of “making do” based on microhistories that move from the private sphere (of dwelling, cooking, and homemaking) to the public (the experience of living in a neighborhood).

A series of interviews—mostly with women—allows us to follow the subjects’ individual routines, composed of the habits, constraints, and inventive strategies by which the speakers negotiate daily life. Through these accounts the speakers, “ordinary” people all, are revealed to be anything but passive consumers. Amid these experiences and voices, the ephemeral inventions of the “obscure heroes” of the everyday, we watch the art of making do become the art of living.

This long-awaited second volume of de Certeau’s masterwork, updated and revised in this first English edition, completes the picture begun in volume 1, drawing to the last detail the collective practices that define the texture, substance, and importance of the everyday.

The Practice of Everyday Life

Michel de Certeau (1925-1986) wrote numerous books that have been translated into English, including Heterologies (1986), The Capture of Speech (1998), and Culture in the Plural (1998), all published by Minnesota. Luce Giard is senior researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and is affiliated with the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris. She is visiting professor of history and history of science at the University of California, San Diego. Pierre Mayol is a researcher in the French Ministry of Culture in Paris.

Timothy J. Tomasik is a freelance translator pursuing a Ph.D. in French literature at Harvard University.

The Practice of Everyday Life

De Certeau's panegyric to everyday human actions eloquently portrays the conversion of the routine and repetitive acts of domestic life into experiences of creativity and pleasure.

Gwendolyn Wright, Lingua Franca

This is a work of impressive richness, both on the level of the methodology of the human sciences and on that of an analysis of cultural practices in a specific setting and milieu whose familiarity is here transformed into an opportunity to see ourselves anew. The Practice of Everyday Life, Volume 2 brings to light an aspect of the work of Michel de Certeau—his commitment to collective research—that by their nature his individually authored volumes can hardly communicate as clearly. In the work of his collaborators Giard and Mayol it will make available the specific research results and an expanded practical account of a methodology that will be of intense interest to anyone working in the area of cultural studies today.

Richard Terdiman, University of California, Santa Cruz

This book offers not only an interesting and uniquely reversed perspective on the flow of consumption but equally as important, it offers the reader an insider’s glance at a historical moment in the evolution of cultural studies, and particularly an insight into French collaborative research practices, something perhaps unfamiliar to many American academics, especially in the humanities.

Symploke