Thursday, May 01, 2008
Davis, Natalie Zemon. "The Quest of Michel De Certeau." NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOK May 15, 2008.
Whether writing about madness and mysticism in the seventeenth century, South American resistance movements in the past and present, or the practice of everyday life in the twentieth century, Certeau developed a distinctive way of interpreting social and personal relations. In contrast to those who described societies by evoking what he called their homogeneities and hegemonies—what unified and controlled them—Certeau wanted to identify the creative and disruptive presence of "the other"—the outsider, the stranger, the alien, the subversive, the radically different—in systems of power and thought. He found it not only in the ways people imagined figures distant from themselves (as in Michel de Montaigne's famous essay on the "Cannibals" of the Amazon), but also in behaviors and groups close to home, in the ever-present tensions at the heart of all social life, whether in schools, religious institutions, or the mass media. . . . Read the rest here: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/21375.