Sunday, May 4, 2008

certeau's "walking rhetoric"

i've reading to do, inspired by this, via Natalie Zemon Davis, by way of Jim Aune @ the blogora:

"Certeau wrote appreciatively of Foucault's close analysis of 'discipline' in his influential Discipline and Punish, where the philosopher tracked the shift from the old regime, in which torture was used as a public spectacle, to the modern prison, in which coercion was used behind closed doors to 'control' the body. But Certeau commented:

If it is true that the grid of "discipline" is everywhere becoming clearer and more extensive, it is all the more urgent to discover how an entire society resists being reduced to it, what popular procedures...manipulate the mechanisms of discipline and conform to them only in order to evade them.

Certeau examined commonplace activities over which control could in principle be maintained by the institutional organization of space and language and suggested how in fact control was ignored or bypassed. People walk their own way through the grid of city streets, zigzagging, slowing down, preferring streets with certain names, making turns and detours, their own 'walking rhetoric.' People read in ways that escape the social hierarchy and 'imposed system' of written texts: they read in all kinds of places from libraries to toilets. They read with their own rhythms and interruptions, thinking or daydreaming; they read making gestures and sounds, stretching, 'a wild orchestration of the body,' and end up with their own ideas about the book. 'These procedures and ruses...compose the network of an antidiscipline.'"




yes, indeed. :-)

thanks for your kind comment on patalab!
...enjoyed the "walking rhetoric" of your fine metro video.
more on mail..
best regards, sam

bonnie lenore kyburz said...

well, thank you, Sam! i'm honored that you spent time w/ my little cell phone film. there is nothing like the D.C. metro station . . . haunting, post-apolcalyptic, and coldly beautiful.

i could spend all day at patalab and now need to read some Jarry. i especially love the film that follows the cloud from a walking position on the street, moving past the flower shop. magic.

stand up straight & let me get a look at you

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