Michel de Certeau: Cultural Theorist (Published in by Ian Buchanan

By Ian Buchanan

De Certeau is frequently thought of to be the theorist of way of life par excellence. This ebook offers an unrivalled severe advent to de Certeau's paintings and impression and appears at his key principles and asks how should still we strive to appreciate him on the subject of theories of recent tradition and society. Ian Buchanan demonstrates how de Certeau was once encouraged by way of Lacan, Merleau-Ponty and Greimas and the which means of de Certeau's notions of `strategy', `tactics', `place' and `space' are in actual fact defined. The publication argues that de Certeau died sooner than constructing the complete import of his paintings for the learn of tradition and convincingly, it attempts to accomplish or think the instructions that de Certeau's paintings might have taken, had he lived.

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Extra info for Michel de Certeau: Cultural Theorist (Published in association with Theory, Culture & Society)

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Literally defined as ‘the unique phenomenon of a distance’ (Benjamin, 1968: 222), ‘aura’ is the opposite of immediacy; or, as it is perhaps better to say, ‘aura’ is what governs immediacy (in the sense that steam engines have governors) because it is what protects it from self annihilation (Eagleton, 1981: 39). Without this distance we could not distinguish original from copy, the authentic from the fake, and of course it is precisely this power of discrimination that has been lost to us in modern times, thanks to mechanical reproduction.

2 The first translation to be noticed by cultural studies was a section of what would subsequently be published as The Practice of Everyday Life (de Certeau, 1980a). Interestingly enough, the translation was inaugurated by Fredric Jameson. Even more interesting, though, is the fact that since then Jameson has not made significant mention of de Certeau’s work anywhere within his own oeuvre; this is startling, in a way, because Jameson has written about virtually every other French scholar of note, making us wonder why he should choose to make an exception of de Certeau.

Nowhere is the appalling din of this unresting memory louder than in the book’s opening: ‘Normally, the uncanny circulates discreetly below street level. But a crisis will suffice to bring it flooding up everywhere from underneath, pushing aside manhole covers, inundating the cellars, then the towns themselves. It always comes as a surprise when the nocturnal erupts into broad daylight’ (de Certeau, 1996a: 7). The sound of the present is deliberately pointed up by de Certeau in order to expose as politically-charged what some believe is so obvious as to be comfortably ignored, namely the fact that history begins in the present.

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