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on 7 July 2010
This book is a seminal text about our contemporary society although it has been written a few decades ago.

De Certeau looks at our urban way of living to uncover how we find ways to make our environment our own, although it has been designed by others to different ends.

This is a most essential read to engage with and think about the city, the urban and built environment and the ways individuals and society interact with it.

Warmly recommended.

Part I: A very ordinary culture
I. A Common Place: Ordinary Language
II. Popular Cultures: Ordinary Language
III. "Making Do": Uses and Tactics

Part II: Theories of the art of practice
IV. Foucault and Bourdieu
V. The Arts of Theory
VI. Story Time

Part III: Spatial Practices
VII. Walking in the city
VIII. Railway navigation and incarceration
IX. Spatial stories

Part IV: Uses of Languages
X. The Scriptural economy
XI. Quotations of Voices
XII. Reading as poaching

Part V: Ways of Believing
XIII. Believing and making people believe
XIV. The Unnamable
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on 9 July 2002
this is a book I've been charged library fines for. i found it impossible to read straight through, I've been dipping in, reading it in chunks as the whole starts to make sense. That's why it's so brilliant - de Certeau has watched us in our everyday lives and unravelled the way we (consciously or not) play along with or undermine the games we have to play in order to live in cities.
He's seen us at work, blagging company time and resources for our own ends, and he's noticed and explains how we behave towards each other on the tube. He's been sitting in crowds and on the train, and he's been walking the streets. He's breaking down without breaking out of the spaces we live in.
This text can change the way you perceive what surrounds you. Wherever you are, it transforms people-watching into something strange and different, because it's suddenly all structures and sequences. It's quite disorientating (remember the story about when the centipede was asked how it managed to walk, and it promply forgot) but it offers so much as compensation. I'll read this in a week and think I've got it all wrong, but that's the beauty of it.
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on 1 February 2008
If you are reading this review while you are sat at you desk pretending to work then this book is for you!

Read it in conjunction with Paul E Willis's 'Common Culture: Symbolic Work at Play in the Everyday Cultures of the Young' and you've finally got a political and thoretical justification for doing more or less whatever you want.
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on 20 September 2015
De Certeau offers a much needed correction to many claustophobic studies in cultural theory, where users and consumers appear as passive and stupid. He shows how this generalisation fails and offers a more hopeful and even more radical view on the mostly unseen and unappreciated creativity of everyday behaviours.
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on 20 February 2014
An excellent read and very applicable to many fields of research in the social sciences and humanities. Highly recommended, buy it.
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on 10 April 2014
Have still not read the whole thing, lots to connect, lots to think about only buy it if you have the time.......
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on 30 July 2015
An incomparable presentation of the theory about the everyday in the context of resistance
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on 15 August 2014
arrived well and in perfect conditions. Many thanks.
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on 18 May 2011
I would really like to read this, because the topic and what I can grasp from the book is so interesting.

But I just can't! The prose is so long winded and "french-like" that I, as a reader whose mother language is not English, stumble on every other sentence. (And I was in the top 25 percentile when I took the SAT in English for Americans).

It needs a "translation" from English to English - it is obviously like hearing the author speak, or maybe he translated it himself to English. Just like Moby Dick in its original issue, it just doesn't communicate in a way that is sensible for me. Every sentence seems to be chisseled as a work of sculpture - to the detriment of transferring the semantic content.

So foreign readers and those with an SAT score lower than the top 5 percentile be warned - getting meaning out of this is a tough job.
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on 29 May 2013
bought as a present for my son who gave me a list of books he would like so he was very pleased with it
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