How The Microhistories Work Against And Within The Apparatus Of Society

1426 words - 6 pages

Michel de Certeau, focuses on how practical means remain unconsumed by consumer society; Luce Giard delves into the tactics of resistance and private practices that turn living into a subversive art. Both two theorize the idea of “making do”, emphasizing on how the microhistories work against and within the apparatus of society.
Influenced by Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan, Michel de Certeau tends to integrate the theories of conscious and unconscious with his notion of everyday practice, focusing on the interrelation, interaction, interreiteration between the force of strategy and the power of tactic. Certeau’s concept strongly echoes to Foucault’s notion of disciplinary system in modern society, further nourishing it with plebeian energy.
In chapter III “’Making Do’: Uses and Tactics”, he theorizes the productive practice and consumptive activity inherent in repetitive and unconscious everyday life. A strategy, which is linked to institutions and structures of power( producer), according to Certeau, is called “the calculation( or manipulation) of power relationships that becomes possible as soon as a subject with will and power…can be isolated”(35-36), whereas “a tactic is a calculated action determined by the absence of a proper locus”(36-37), and is used by individuals( consumers) to resist to the dominant order in environment defined by strategies.
In chapter VII, “Walking in the City”, Certeau contends that the city, described as a unified whole by maps is generated by the strategies of governments, corporations, and other institutions. Certeau argues that, everyday life, which works by a process of poaching on the territory of others, though, using the principles, rules, constructions, products established in the society, is never entirely determined by them. To illustrate his assertion, Certeau contrasts two different powers: one is an action of looking down for a panoptic spectacle from skyscraper in New York; another is a street-level walker’ walking in a tactical way along through, instead of strategic grid of the street, but the shortcuts. This tactical navigation on street is always influenced but never fully determined by the strategies of organized frame made by city cartographer. Further articulating the relation between the constructed order of the city and the spatial practice, Certeau asserts that “the Concept-city is decaying”(95) and “these multiform, resistance, tricky and stubborn procedures elude discipline without being outside the field in which it is exercised”(96). The act of walking determined by semantic tropism, according to Certeau, “is to the urban system what the speech act is to language or to the statement uttered”(97). Further, this pedestrian speech act has three characteristics: the present, the discrete, the phatic. He conceptualized its triple enunciative function: 1) it is a process of appropriation of the topographical system on the part of the pedestrian; 2) it is a spatial acting-out of...

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