de Certeau is often considered to be the theorist of everyday life par excellence. This book provides an unrivalled critical introduction to de Certeau's work and influence and looks at his key ideas and asks how should we try to understand him in relation to theories of modern culture and society. Ian Buchanan demonstrates how de Certeau was influenced by Lacan, Merleau-Ponty and Greimas and the meaning of de Certeau's notions of `strategy', `tactics', `place' and `space' are clearly described. The book argues that de Certeau died before developing the full import of his work for the study of culture and convincingly, it tries to complete or imagine the directions that de Certeau's work would have taken, had he lived.




As a mirror of the ‘doing’ which defines a society today, historical discourse is its representation and its underside.

Michel de Certeau, The Writing of History

In one of her numerous biographical pieces on de Certeau, Luce Giard informs us that de Certeau read and re-read Marx's The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. She then makes the rather stunning admission that she cannot fathom why this should have been so (Giard, 1997a: xii). Yet even a cursory glance at that work would make its appeal to de Certeau obvious: like Marx, he wondered why the dead cannot be let to bury the dead. Why do we resort to myths and ghosts so readily? Historians, de Certeau shows, have, since Michelet at least, made it their primary ...

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