year after Lefebvre's death and in English in 2004 as Rhythmanalysis: Space, Time and Everyday Life . This short book is widely considered as the fourth and final volume of Lefebvre's hitherto three-volume Critique of Everyday Life (Lefebvre, 2014 ) and has attracted considerable interest in the twenty-first century. It adds a temporal dimension to Lefebvre's long-standing analyses of space and attempts to think time and space together. As the instances I described above suggest, rhythmanalysis is helpful as a means of sensing and making sense of rhythm
and Goodwin ( 2014 : 926) note, the everyday is ‘a notoriously difficult term to define, … we can generalise that it is an arena of social life that includes repetitive daily cycles and routines that we learn but eventually take for granted’. This academic interest in everyday life, while not an especially new phenomenon, can contemporaneously be traced back to the ‘cultural turn’ within the social sciences, from around the early 1970s, when engagements between cultural studies and philosophical traditions were raising questions about ‘how we make sense of the world
Introduction Since the material turn in the social sciences, researchers have been exploring new ways to engage with the objects and materials of everyday life. Such methods aim to overcome subject–object binaries, placing the very substance of materials at the core of their inquiry (Gregson and Crewe, 1998 ). This chapter takes one such approach – object interviews – to explore how objects and materials structure our everyday lives and relationships. This method involves not only unearthing the significance of objects to their owners, but also
how far everyday sociability might be seen as a ‘more-than-human’ affair (Tipper, 2012 ). But, like many of the creatures which skitter, flutter and scurry through our ordinary lives, the everyday itself is elusive and hard to capture; seemingly unremarkable and taken-for-granted. It is difficult to articulate what is considered mundane. Of course, the ‘everyday’ is not interchangeable with ‘mundaneity’: everyday life encompasses remarkable, astonishing and singular moments, whereas the mundane is the routine, unexamined part of quotidian life that seems
, and popularity. Who, for instance, can forget the iconic big blue skies of Albuquerque, or the twang of a dobro guitar musically setting the scene? In its sense of place and imaginative geography of the US, this was trailblazing television. 5 And, within that deliberately specific (New Mexico) and yet all-American setting, the show wrestles with the philosophical implications of everyday life, albeit on an epic level, driven by Walt’s quest for change – for something more . 6 Breaking Bad , of course, deals with a range of personal circumstances, which, I argue
interview as bounded; it often acted as the catalyst for ideas that ruminated for a few weeks or even months. Perhaps to be expected when discussing the mundane and other aspects of everyday life that we do not generally spend much time considering, these research interviews regularly catalysed a longer-term reanalysis of participants’ own practices. This led to follow-up communications from participants offering new ideas or clarifications. Once the interviews were transcribed, I sent the transcriptions to the participants. This not only ensured they had a record of
more substantial historical dimension into their work. 1 This chapter will briefly outline the main currents of thought in anthropology over this period, and examine the influence of two specific approaches that were to be fertile ground for historians: everyday life and symbolic anthropology, and ethnohistory. In the context of these approaches to history research and writing we will also examine the key concept of ‘ethnicity’. The concept of human culture is at the heart of anthropology. In the late nineteenth century Edward Burnett Tylor, often regarded as ‘the
of using a mode which has long been superseded. I end the chapter by looking at Joshua Ferris’s Then We Came to the End , a novel published in 2007. It describes the minutiae of everyday life in the office of an advertising agency, with the unusual device of using the first-person plural for its narrative perspective. It is an example of a novel that is engaged with Realism/realism, and attempts to rework this aesthetic against a backdrop of the postmodern critique of realist representation. Joshua Ferris: Then We Came to the End Here is the opening
Mundane methods is an innovative and original collection which will make a distinctive methodological and empirical contribution to research on the everyday. Bringing together a range of interdisciplinary approaches, it provides a practical, hands-on approach for scholars interested in studying the mundane and exploring its potential. Divided into three key themes, this volume explores methods for studying materials and memories, senses and emotions, ,and mobilities and motion, with encounters, relationships, practices, spaces, temporalities and imaginaries cross-cutting throughout. In doing so, it draws on the work of a range of established and up-and-coming scholars researching the everyday, including human geographers, sociologists, anthropologists, urban planners, cartographers and fashion historians. Mundane methods offers a range of truly unique methods – from loitering, to smell mapping, to Memory Work – which promise to embrace and retain the vitality of research into everyday life. With empirical examples, practical tips and exercises, this book will be accessible to a range of audiences interested in making sense of the everyday.
Why theory? takes six major literary theorists and explores their work
using examples from contemporary film and television. Each chapter is devoted to
a single theorist and addresses three of their ideas in particular – a
methodical approach that, coupled with the concrete and accessible
illustrations, helps to strip away the obscurity that has built up around the
The theorists discussed, representing the cultural critique of the period 1970–2000, are Clifford Geertz, Hayden White, Julia Kristeva, Homi K. Bhabha, Pierre Bourdieu and Martha Nussbaum. The diverse illustrations are taken from the mainstream film and television of the past two decades, and include The West Wing (1999), Spider-Man 2 (2004), Frozen (2013) and Twelve Years a Slave (2013). Providing a broad range of specific examples drawn from everyday life, they allow for sophisticated ideas to be quickly grasped, while demonstrating the enduring power of cultural theory to explain the world around us.
Ideal for students of literature and cultural studies, Why theory? will also be of interest to academics and general readers looking for a new way to approach the discipline, as well as a convincing reassertion of its value.