Acknowledging and Feeling the Everyday

28.06.2010

The impulses of scholarship sometimes encourage a dissatisfaction with everyday existence. Perhaps this is because, at first sight, it seems too “obvious” (and necessarily not sufficiently technical or specialised); perhaps it is because the mundane does not declare its social importance in more directly objective public language (as political or ideological discourse aims to do); or perhaps matters of the everyday are simply too close to home. The everyday is avoided, therefore, because we find it difficult to establish the distance, the separateness, which would enable us to acknowledge it in significant or rewarding ways.[1]

While discussing Michael de Certeau’s The Practice of Everyday Life,[2] Andrew Klevan adds that Certeau’s vocabulary “tends to ignore the precise detail of everyday feeling, or the concrete, routine practice of life — such as waiting, or boredom, or writing a diary, or chatting at home, or taking a commuter train into town”.[3] He claims that approaches like Certeau’s reject everyday rhythms as experienced, as felt.[4] Klevan’s is instead a phenomenological approach to the everyday.

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[1] Andrew Klevan, Disclosure of the Everyday: Undramatic Achievement in Narrative Film (Trowbridge: Flicks Books, 2000), pp. 4-5.
[2] Michael de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, trans. Steven Rendall (London: University of California Press, 1992), pp. 4-5.
[3] Klevan, Disclosure of the Everyday, pp. 6-7, n. 11.
[4] Ibid., p. 7, n. 11.