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Certeau's education was eclectic, following the medieval tradition of peregrinatio academica. He undertook religious training at a seminary in Lyonwhere he entered the Jesuit order Society of Jesus in and was ordained in Certeau entered the Society of Jesus hoping to do missionary work in China.
In the year of his ordination, Certeau became one of the founders of the journal Christus, with which he would actively be involved for much of his life. He came to public attention after publishing an article dealing with the May events in France.
Certeau went on to teach at several universities in locations as diverse as GenevaSan Diegoand Paris. Through the s and Walking the city he produced a string of works that demonstrated his interest in mysticismphenomenologyand psychoanalysis.
He died in Paris, aged The Practice of Everyday Life[ edit ] Certeau's most well-known and influential work in the United States has been The Practice of Everyday Lifecited in fields such as rhetoric,   performance studies,  and law.
According to Certeau, everyday life is distinctive from other practices of daily existence because it is repetitive and unconscious. Instead, he attempts to outline the way individuals unconsciously navigate everything from city streets to literary texts. The Practice of Everyday Life has been a subject of study for its distinction between the concepts of strategy and tactics.
Certeau links "strategies" with institutions and structures of power who are the "producers", while individuals are "consumers" or "poachers," acting in accordance with, or against, environments defined by strategies by using "tactics".
Certeau uses the vantage from the World Trade Center in New York to illustrate the idea of a synoptic, unified view.
By contrast, the walker at street level moves in ways that are tactical and never fully determined by the plans of organizing bodies, taking shortcuts in spite of the strategic grid of the streets. Certeau's argument is that everyday life works by a process of poaching on the territory of others, using the rules and products that already exist in culture in a way that is influenced, but never wholly determined, by those rules and products.
According to Andrew Blauvelt who relies on the work of Certeau in his essay on design and everyday life: In The Practice of Everyday Life, de Certeau outlines an important critical distinction between strategies and tactics in this battle of repression and expression.
According to him, strategies are used by those within organizational power structures, whether small or large, such as the state or municipality, the corporation or the proprietor, a scientific enterprise or the scientist. Strategies are deployed against some external entity to institute a set of relations for official or proper ends, whether adversaries, competitors, clients, customers, or simply subjects.
Tactics, on the other hand, are employed by those who are subjugated.
By their very nature tactics are defensive and opportunistic, used in more limited ways and seized momentarily within spaces, both physical and psychological, produced and governed by more powerful strategic relations.Gliding past North Riverside on the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s River Cruise aboard Chicago’s First Lady, the building almost seems to reach out and embrace you.
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