The Practice of Everyday Life, Volume 2: Living and Cooking
Michel de Certeau
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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.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.
a central role in his thinking; put into place in L'icrit ure de I'histoirt (1975) [The Writing ofHistory, 19881 and already in the articles collected in L'Absmt de I'histoire (1973), it is reworked in L4 Pa hle mystique (1982) [The Mystic Fable, 19921. Here, it structures the sec ond half of volume 1 of L'/nvmtion du quotidil'1l, and on this thesis de pends the place accorded to the theory of "narration," indissociable from a theory of practices (78) and central for Certeau; for narration is
08-16. 23. jean Ciaudian, "L'alimentation,� in j'vtichel Fram,ois, ed., La Frallct et Itf Frill/rilis (Paris: Gallim�rd, Pleiade, 1972), 152-53; and Maurice Aymard, "Pour I'histoire de I'alimentation: quelques remarques de methode,� Am/Illes ESC 30 (1975): 435, 439-'12. 24. John Dobbing, "Malnutrition et deveJoppement du cerveau," La Rttbl'rcbr, no. 64 (February 1976): 139-45; and Ciba Foundation Symposium, Lipids, Malllllm tlOl1 alld fbr DrvrlOplllg Brllill (Amsterdam: North Holland, 1972).
Cllt/lft building, in the rue Diderot. His apart ment is on the sixth floor (which corresponds, in terms of the number of steps, to the ninth floor of a modern building). Jacquard looms were The Neighborhood The Neighborhood not put in this high up. In the past, these floors involved sm:'lll :'Ipart· ments taken in the loft or in the attics that the young apprentices packed into for the night. The apartment is not very cheerful, but it is curiously refined by two series of objects that
have changed consider all credit: "He never went without, that guy, it's obvious." Bread, very ably in twenty or thirty years, it remains the indelible witness of a "gas indirectly, allows one to know if someone is "with or against us." It bears tronomy of poverty"; it is less a basic food than a basic "cultural symbol," a social writing: it is implicitly required to know how to read it correctly. a monument constantly restored in order to avert suffering and hunger. Because one does not
factory modernized by buying new looms, the old ones left for friendly conversations, no one knows anyone anymore. . . . Syria, Egypt, and Algeria. Men from these countries came to do intern There were a few curiosities in the Croix-Rousse. For a long time, ships in Lyons to learn how to weave; then they rerurned home, where, the Lyons-Bourg train used to cross the boulevard de la Croix-Rousse, with our old looms and with much less expensive manual labor than in because the station was on