Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

A Fourth Critic of the Enlightenment: Michel de Certeau and the ethnography of subjectivity

By Jon P Mitchell

Abstract

This paper examines the potential contribution of the work of Michel de Certeau (1925-1986) to anthropological theories of agency, resistance and subjectivity. It argues that de Certeau's work shares with contemporary anthropological theory a legacy of the counter-Enlightenment that combines a profound pessimism about modern society with an emphasis on the redemptive possibility of populism, expressivism and pluralism. Whilst in anthropology these developed into a complex theorisation of agency, resistance and subjectivity as embedded in socio-cultural context, de Certeau appears to systematically avoid a coherent theory. Rather, he offers a theology of agency, resistance and subjectivity that sees resistance through 'tactics' as the manifestation of an enduring counter-modern human spirit, and as inherently morally good. The paper closes with a caution against anthropologists adopting a similar 'theological' stance towards resistance

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Year: 2007
OAI identifier: oai:sro.sussex.ac.uk:10537
Download PDF:
Sorry, we are unable to provide the full text but you may find it at the following location(s):
  • http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.14... (external link)
  • Suggested articles


    To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.