By Michel de Certeau
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Extra info for The Practice of Everyday Life
An objective is at least adumbrated by this parallel, which is, as we shall see, only partly valid. Such an objective assumes that (like the Indians mentioned above) users make (bricolent) innumerable and infinitesimal transformations of and within the dominant cultural economy in order to adapt it to their own interests and their own rules. We must determine the procedures, bases, effects, and possibilities of this collective activity. The procedures of everyday creativity A second orientation of our investigation can be explained by reference to Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish.
And it was a book. Today, this text no longer comes from a tradition. It is imposed by the generation of a productivist technocracy. It is no longer a referential book, but a whole society made into a book, into the writing of the anonymous law of production. It is useful to compare other arts with this art of readers. For example, the art of conversationalists: the rhetoric of ordinary conversation consists of practices which transform “speech situations,” verbal productions in which the interlacing of speaking positions weaves an oral fabric without individual owners, creations of a communication that belongs to no one.
In that way, he makes explicit an overturning of knowledge. In fact, if Freud mocks this introduction to a future “pathology of civilized societies,” it is because he is himself the ordinary man of whom he speaks, with a few “commonplace” and bitter truths in his hands. He ends his reflections with a pirouette. “The complaint that I offer no consolation is justified,”10 he writes, for he has none. He is in the same boat as everyone else and begins to laugh. An ironic and wise madness is linked to the fact that he has lost the singularity of a competence and found himself, anyone or no one, in the common history.