front cover of The Anatomy of National Fantasy
The Anatomy of National Fantasy
Hawthorne, Utopia, and Everyday Life
Lauren Berlant
University of Chicago Press, 1991
Examining the complex relationships between the political, popular, sexual, and textual interests of Nathaniel Hawthorne's work, Lauren Berlant argues that Hawthorne mounted a sophisticated challenge to America's collective fantasy of national unity. She shows how Hawthorne's idea of citizenship emerged from an attempt to adjudicate among the official and the popular, the national and the local, the collective and the individual, utopia and history.

At the core of Berlant's work is a three-part study of The Scarlet Letter, analyzing the modes and effects of national identity that characterize the narrator's representation of Puritan culture and his construction of the novel's political present tense. This analysis emerges from an introductory chapter on American citizenship in the 1850s and a following chapter on national fantasy, ranging from Hawthorne's early work "Alice Doane's Appeal" to the Statue of Liberty. In her conclusion, Berlant suggests that Hawthorne views everyday life and local political identities as alternate routes to the revitalization of the political and utopian promises of modern national life.
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Antebellum Jefferson, Texas
Everyday Life in an East Texas Town
Jacques D. Bagur
University of North Texas Press, 2012

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Artisans, Objects and Everyday Life in Renaissance Italy
The Material Culture of the Middling Class
Paula Hohti Erichsen
Amsterdam University Press, 2020
Did ordinary Italians have a ‘Renaissance’? This book presents the first in-depth exploration of how artisans and small local traders experienced the material and cultural Renaissance. Drawing on a rich blend of sixteenthcentury visual and archival evidence, it examines how individuals and families at artisanal levels (such as shoemakers, barbers, bakers and innkeepers) lived and worked, managed their household economies and consumption, socialised in their homes, and engaged with the arts and the markets for luxury goods. It demonstrates that although the economic and social status of local craftsmen and traders was relatively low, their material possessions show how these men and women who rarely make it into the history books were fully engaged with contemporary culture, cultural customs and the urban way of life.
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As Seen on TV
The Visual Culture of Everyday Life in the 1950s
Karal Ann Marling
Harvard University Press, 1994
America in the 1950s: the world was not so much a stage as a setpiece for TV, the new national phenomenon. It was a time when how things looked--and how we looked--mattered, a decade of design that comes to vibrant life in As Seen on TV. From the painting-by-numbers fad to the public fascination with the First Lady's apparel to the television sensation of Elvis Presley to the sculptural refinement of the automobile, Marling explores what Americans saw and what they looked for with a gaze newly trained by TV. A study in style, in material culture, in art history at eye level, this book shows us as never before those artful everyday objects that stood for American life in the 1950s, as seen on TV.
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Becoming Israeli
National Ideals and Everyday Life in the 1950s
Anat Helman
Brandeis University Press, 2014
With a light touch and many wonderful illustrations, historian Anat Helman investigates "life on the ground" in Israel during the first years of statehood. She looks at how citizens--natives of the land, longtime immigrants, and newcomers--coped with the state's efforts to turn an incredibly diverse group of people into a homogenous whole. She investigates the efforts to make Hebrew the lingua franca of Israel, the uses of humor, and the effects of a constant military presence, along with such familiar aspects of daily life as communal dining on the kibbutz, the nightmare of trying to board a bus, and moviegoing as a form of escapism. In the process Helman shows how ordinary people adapted to the standards and rules of the political and cultural elites and negotiated the chaos of early statehood.
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Before and After Gender
Sexual Mythologies of Everyday Life
Marilyn Strathern
HAU, 2016
Written in the early 1970s amidst widespread debate over the causes of gender inequality, Marilyn Strathern’s Before and After Gender was intended as a widely accessible analysis of gender as a powerful cultural code and sex as a defining mythology. But when the series for which it was written unexpectedly folded, the manuscript went into storage, where it remained for more than four decades. This book finally brings it to light, giving the long-lost feminist work—accompanied here by an afterword from Judith Butler—an overdue spot in feminist history.
             
Strathern incisively engages some of the leading feminist thinkers of the time, including Shulamith Firestone, Simone de Beauvoir, Ann Oakley, and Kate Millett. Building with characteristic precision toward a bold conclusion in which she argues that we underestimate the materializing grammars of sex and gender at our own peril, she offers a powerful challenge to the intransigent mythologies of sex that still plague contemporary society. The result is a sweeping display of Strathern’s vivid critical thought and an important contribution to feminist studies that has gone unpublished for far too long.
 
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Beyond Bach
Music and Everyday Life in the Eighteenth Century
Andrew Talle
University of Illinois Press, 2018
Reverence for J. S. Bach's music and its towering presence in our cultural memory have long affected how people hear his works. In his own time, however, Bach stood as just another figure among a number of composers, many of them more popular with the music-loving public.

Eschewing the great composer style of music history, Andrew Talle takes us on a journey that looks at how ordinary people made music in Bach's Germany. Talle focuses in particular on the culture of keyboard playing as lived in public and private. As he ranges through a wealth of documents, instruments, diaries, account ledgers, and works of art, Talle brings a fascinating cast of characters to life. These individuals--amateur and professional performers, patrons, instrument builders, and listeners--inhabited a lost world, and Talle's deft expertise teases out the diverse roles music played in their lives and in their relationships with one another. At the same time, his nuanced re-creation of keyboard playing's social milieu illuminates the era's reception of Bach's immortal works.

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Book Clubs
Women and the Uses of Reading in Everyday Life
Elizabeth Long
University of Chicago Press, 2003
Book clubs are everywhere these days. And women talk about the clubs they belong to with surprising emotion. But why are the clubs so important to them? And what do the women discuss when they meet? To answer questions like these, Elizabeth Long spent years observing and participating in women's book clubs and interviewing members from different discussion groups. Far from being an isolated activity, she finds reading for club members to be an active and social pursuit, a crucial way for women to reflect creatively on the meaning of their lives and their place in the social order.
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Captivating Technology
Race, Carceral Technoscience, and Liberatory Imagination in Everyday Life
Ruha Benjamin, editor
Duke University Press, 2019
The contributors to Captivating Technology examine how carceral technologies such as electronic ankle monitors and predictive-policing algorithms are being deployed to classify and coerce specific populations and whether these innovations can be appropriated and reimagined for more liberatory ends.
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Challenging Chicago
Coping with Everyday Life, 1837-1920
Perry R. Duis
University of Illinois Press, 2006
During an unprecedented period of rapid growth, the burgeoning metropolis of Chicago quickly became a “concentration of risk”: far more congested, dangerous, unpleasant, immoral, and unhealthy than newcomers had anticipated. Through vignettes and real-life stories, Challenging Chicago reveals lower- and middle-class peoples’ strategies for coping with technology, crowding, anonymity, and other urban ills.

Follow along and encounter some of Chicago’s most infamous citizens--the loathed Traction Baron, high-speed “scorchers,” and peddlers of “swill milk.” Learn about the perils of payday, the lunchtime problems of women, the lure of dime museums, and the fatal attraction of Chicago’s “cruelest place.” Against this bleak backdrop emerged the innovators and institutions that made Chicago the vibrant city it is today. The superbly textured narrative is enhanced by eighty-six historic photographs and illustrations.

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front cover of Colonial Tactics and Everyday Life
Colonial Tactics and Everyday Life
Workers of the Manchuria Film Association
Yuxin Ma
University of Wisconsin Press, 2023
Following the Japanese invasion of northeast China in 1931, the occupying authorities established the Manchuria Film Association to promote film production efficiency and serve Japan’s propaganda needs. Manchuria Film Association had two tasks: to make “national policy films” as part of a cultural mission of educating Chinese in Manchukuo (the puppet state created in 1932) on the special relationship between Japan and the region, and to block the exhibition of Chinese films from Shanghai that contained anti-Japanese messages. The corporation relied on Japanese capital, technology, and film expertise, but it also employed many Chinese filmmakers. After the withdrawal of Japanese forces in 1945, many of these individuals were portrayed as either exploited victims or traitorous collaborators. Yuxin Ma seeks to move the conversation beyond such simplistic and inaccurate depictions.

By focusing on the daily challenges and experiences of the Chinese workers at the corporation, Ma examines how life was actually lived by people navigating between practical and ideological concerns. She illustrates how the inhabitants of Manchukuo navigated social opportunities, economic depression, educational reforms, fascist rule, commercial interests, practical daily needs, and more—and reveals ways in which these conflicting preoccupations sometimes manifested as tension and ambiguity on screen. In the battle between repression and expression, these Chinese actors, directors, writers, and technicians adopted defensive and opportunistic tactics. They did so in colonial spaces, often rejecting modernist representations of Manchukuo in favor of venerating traditional Chinese culture and values. The expertise, skills, and professional networks they developed extended well beyond the occupation into the postwar period, and may individuals reestablished themselves as cinema professionals in the socialist era.
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The Common Place of Law
Stories from Everyday Life
Patricia Ewick and Susan S. Silbey
University of Chicago Press, 1998
Why do some people not hesitate to call the police to quiet a barking dog in the middle of the night, while others accept the pain and losses associated with defective products, unsuccesful surgery, and discrimination? Patricia Ewick and Susan Silbey collected accounts of the law from more than four hundred people of diverse backgrounds in order to explore the different ways that people use and experience it. Their fascinating and original study identifies three common narratives of law that are captured in the stories people tell.

One narrative is based on an idea of the law as magisterial and remote. Another views the law as a game with rules that can be manipulated to one's advantage. A third narrative describes the law as an arbitrary power that is actively resisted. Drawing on these extensive case studies, Ewick and Silbey present individual experiences interwoven with an analysis that charts a coherent and compelling theory of legality. A groundbreaking study of law and narrative, The Common Place of Law depicts the institution as it is lived: strange and familiar, imperfect and ordinary, and at the center of daily life.
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Common Places
Mythologies of Everyday Life in Russia
Svetlana Boym
Harvard University Press, 1995

What is the “real Russia”? What is the relationship between national dreams and kitsch, between political and artistic utopia and everyday existence? Commonplaces of daily living would be perfect clues for those seeking to understand a culture. But all who write big books on Russian life confess their failure to get properly inside Russia, to understand its “doublespeak.”

Svetlana Boym is a unique guide. A member of the last Soviet Generation, the Russian equivalent of our Generation X, she grew up in Leningrad and has lived in the West for the past thirteen years. Her book provides a view of Russia that is historically informed, replete with unexpected detail, and everywhere stamped with authority. Alternating analysis with personal accounts of Russian life, Boym conveys the foreignness of Russia and examines its peculiar conceptions of private life and common good, of Culture and Trash, of sincerity and banality. Armed with a Dictionary of Untranslatable Terms, we step around Uncle Fedia asleep in the hall, surrounded by a puddle of urine, and enter the Communal Apartment, the central exhibit of the book. It is the ruin of the communal utopia and a unique institution of Soviet daily life; a model Soviet home and a breeding ground for grassroots informants. Here, privacy is forbidden; here the inhabitants defiantly treasure their bits of “domestic trash,” targets of ideological campaigns for the transformation (perestroika) of everyday life.

Against the Russian and Soviet myths of national destiny, the trivial, the ordinary, even the trashy, take on a utopian dimension. Boym studies Russian culture in a broad sense of the word; she ranges from nineteenth- and twentieth-century intellectual thought to art and popular culture. With her we go walking in Moscow and Leningrad, eavesdrop on domestic life, and discover jokes, films, and TV programs. Boym then reflects on the 1991 coup that marked the end of the Soviet Union and evoked fin-de-siècle apocalyptic visions. The book ends with a poignant reflection on the nature of communal utopia and nostalgia, on homesickness and the sickness of being home.

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Contingent Encounters
Improvisation in Music and Everyday Life
Dan DiPiero
University of Michigan Press, 2022
Contingent Encounters offers a sustained comparative study of improvisation as it appears between music and everyday life. Drawing on work in musicology, cultural studies, and critical improvisation studies, as well as his own performing experience, Dan DiPiero argues that comparing improvisation across domains calls into question how improvisation is typically recognized. By comparing the music of Eric Dolphy, Norwegian free improvisers, Mr. K, and the Ingrid Laubrock/Kris Davis duo with improvised activities in everyday life (such as walking, baking, working, and listening), DiPiero concludes that improvisation appears as a function of any encounter between subjects, objects, and environments. Bringing contingency into conversation with the utopian strain of critical improvisation studies, DiPiero shows how particular social investments cause improvisation to be associated with relative freedom, risk-taking, and unpredictability in both scholarship and public discourse. Taking seriously the claim that improvisation is the same thing as living, Contingent Encounters overturns long-standing assumptions about the aesthetic and political implications of this notoriously slippery term.
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Critical Teaching and Everyday Life
Ira Shor
University of Chicago Press, 1987
In this unique book on education, Shor develops teaching theory side-by-side with a political analysis of schooling. Drawing on the work of Paulo Freire, he offers the first practical and theoretical guide to Freirean methods for American classrooms. Central to his method is a commitment to learning through dialogue and to exploring themes from everyday life. He poses alienation and mass culture as key obstacles to learning, and establishes critical literacy as a foundation for studying any subject.
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Cyberspaces Of Everyday Life
Mark Nunes
University of Minnesota Press, 2006
Networks and computer-mediated communication now penetrate the spaces of everyday life at a fundamental level. We communicate, work, bank, date, check the weather, and fuel conspiracy theories online. In each instance, users interact with network technology as much more than a computational device.

Cyberspaces of Everyday Life provides a critical framework for understanding how the Internet takes part in the production of social space. Mark Nunes draws on the spatial analysis work of Henri Lefebvre to make sense of cyberspace as a social product. Looking at online education, he explores the ways in which the Internet restructures the university. Nunes also examines social uses of the World Wide Web and illustrates the ways online communication alters the relation between the global and the local. He also applies Deleuzian theory to emphasize computer-mediated communications’ performative elements of spatial production.

Addressing the social and cultural implications of spam and anti-spam legislation, as well as how the burst Internet stock bubble and the Patriot Act have affected the relationship between networked spaces and daily living, Cyberspaces of Everyday Life sheds new light on the question of virtual space and its role in the offline world.

Mark Nunes is associate professor and chair of the English, Technical Communication, and Media Arts Department at Southern Polytechnic State University.
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Dancing with the Dead
Memory, Performance, and Everyday Life in Postwar Okinawa
Christopher T. Nelson
Duke University Press, 2008
Challenging conventional understandings of time and memory, Christopher T. Nelson examines how contemporary Okinawans have contested, appropriated, and transformed the burdens and possibilities of the past. Nelson explores the work of a circle of Okinawan storytellers, ethnographers, musicians, and dancers deeply engaged with the legacies of a brutal Japanese colonial era, the almost unimaginable devastation of the Pacific War, and a long American military occupation that still casts its shadow over the islands. The ethnographic research that Nelson conducted in Okinawa in the late 1990s—and his broader effort to understand Okinawans’ critical and creative struggles—was inspired by his first visit to the islands in 1985 as a lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Nelson analyzes the practices of specific performers, showing how memories are recalled, bodies remade, and actions rethought as Okinawans work through fragments of the past in order to reconstruct the fabric of everyday life. Artists such as the popular Okinawan actor and storyteller Fujiki Hayato weave together genres including Japanese stand-up comedy, Okinawan celebratory rituals, and ethnographic studies of war memory, encouraging their audiences to imagine other ways to live in the modern world. Nelson looks at the efforts of performers and activists to wrest the Okinawan past from romantic representations of idyllic rural life in the Japanese media and reactionary appropriations of traditional values by conservative politicians. In his consideration of eisā, the traditional dance for the dead, Nelson finds a practice that reaches beyond the expected boundaries of mourning and commemoration, as the living and the dead come together to create a moment in which a new world might be built from the ruins of the old.
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Digital Material
Tracing New Media in Everyday Life and Technology
Edited by Marianne van den Boomen, Sybille Lammes, Ann-Sophie Lehmann, Joost Rae
Amsterdam University Press, 2009
Three decades of societal and cultural alignment of new media have yielded a host of innovations, trials, and problems, accompanied by versatile popular and academic discourse. New Media Studies crystallized internationally into an established academic discipline, and this begs the question: where do we stand now? Which new questions are emerging now that new media are being taken for granted, and which riddles are still unsolved? Is contemporary digital culture indeed all about 'you', the participating user, or do we still not really understand the digital machinery and how this constitutes us as 'you'? The contributors to the present book, all employed in teaching and researching new media and digital culture, assembled their 'digital material' into an anthology, covering issues ranging from desktop metaphors to Web 2.0 ecosystems, from touch screens to blogging and e-learning, from role-playing games and cybergothic music to wireless dreams. Together the contributions provide a showcase of current research in the field, from what may be called a 'digital-materialist' perspective.
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Director's Guide to Place Me with Your Son
Ignatian Spirituality in Everyday Life
James W. Skehan, SJ
Georgetown University Press, 1994

From advance planning to advice on bridging the return from the twenty-four week retreat to everyday life, this Director's Guide provides assistance to those organizing Ignatian retreats based on James W. Skehan's Place Me with Your Son and those wishing to deepen the previous retreat experience. This volume explains the foundations of each phase of the retreat and suggests ways to prepare for the transitions between the phases. Skehan reviews the basic concepts; anticipates problems and opportunities that may arise in each week; offers possible responses to exercitants' questions; and interprets Scriptural passages for modern readers. The Guide also includes a list of recommended supplemental readings and guidelines for integrating the retreat into the liturgical year.

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The Drama of Everyday Life
Karl Scheibe
Harvard University Press, 2000

Psychologists, says the old joke, know everything there is to know about the college sophomore and the white rat. But what about the rest of us, older than the former, bigger than the latter, with lives more labyrinthine than either? In this ambitious book, Karl E. Scheibe aims to take psychology out of its rut and bring it into contact with the complex lives that most people quietly live.

Drama, Scheibe reminds us, is no more confined to the theater than religion is to the church or education to the schoolroom. Accordingly, he brings to his reflection on psychology the drama of literature, poetry, philosophy, history, music, and theater. The essence of drama is transformation: the transformation of the quotidian world into something that commands interest and stimulates conversation. It is this dramatic transformation that Scheibe seeks in psychology as he pursues a series of suggestive questions, such as: Why is boredom the central motivational issue of our time? Why are eating and sex the biological foundations of all human dramas? Why is indifference a natural condition, caring a dramatic achievement? Why is schizophrenia disappearing? Why does gambling have cosmic significance?

Writing with elegance and passion, Scheibe asks us to take note of the self-representation, performance, and scripts of the drama that is our everyday life. In doing so, he challenges our dispirited senses and awakens psychology to a new realm of dramatic possibility.

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Everyday Life
How the Ordinary Became Extraordinary
Joseph A. Amato
Reaktion Books, 2016
Most of the stories we tell are about great feats, dangerous journeys, or daring confrontations—exceptional moments in our existence. But what about how we live every single day? In Everyday Life, Joseph A. Amato offers an account of daily existence that reminds us how important the quotidian is. Ranging across social, economic, and cultural history—as well as anthropology, folklore, and technology—he explores how and why the pattern of our lives has changed and developed over time.
            Amato examines the common facts and occurrences in lives from all spheres, whether of a pauper or a noble, a criminal or state official, or a lunatic or a philosopher. Such facts include basic aspects of human existence, such as play, work, conflict, and healing, as well the logistics of survival, such as housing, clothing, cleaning, cooking, animals, plants, and machines. Tracing core historical developments like efficiency of production and greater mobility, Amato shows how we became modern in everyday ways. He explores how, paradoxically, commerce, technology, design,  industrialization, nationalism, and democratization—which have so undercut traditional culture and have homogenized, centralized, and secularized masses of people—have also profoundly transformed daily life, affording citizens with materially improved  lives, individual rights, and productive and rewarding expectations.
            A wide-ranging account of lives throughout history, this book gives us new insights into our own condition, showing us how extraordinary the ordinary can be.
 
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The Evolving World
Evolution in Everyday Life
David P. Mindell
Harvard University Press, 2007

In the 150 years since Darwin, evolutionary biology has proven as essential as it is controversial, a critical concept for answering questions about everything from the genetic code and the structure of cells to the reproduction, development, and migration of animal and plant life. But today, as David P. Mindell makes undeniably clear in The Evolving World, evolutionary biology is much more than an explanatory concept. It is indispensable to the world we live in. This book provides the first truly accessible and balanced account of how evolution has become a tool with applications that are thoroughly integrated, and deeply useful, in our everyday lives and our societies, often in ways that we do not realize.

When we domesticate wild species for agriculture or companionship; when we manage our exposure to pathogens and prevent or control epidemics; when we foster the diversity of species and safeguard the functioning of ecosystems: in each of these cases, Mindell shows us, evolutionary biology applies. It is at work when we recognize that humans represent a single evolutionary family with variant cultures but shared biological capabilities and motivations. And last but not least, we see here how evolutionary biology comes into play when we use knowledge of evolution to pursue justice within the legal system and to promote further scientific discovery through education and academic research.

More than revealing evolution's everyday uses and value, The Evolving World demonstrates the excitement inherent in its applications--and convinces us as never before that evolutionary biology has become absolutely necessary for human existence.

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Expansion of Everyday Life, 1860–1876
Daniel Sutherland
University of Arkansas Press, 2000
During this period, five states joined the Union—Kansas, West Virginia, Nevada, Nebraska and Colorado—and the population reached nearly forty million. The westward movement was given a boost by the cornpletion of the first intercontinental railroad, and migration from farms and villages to towns and cities increased, accompanied by a shift from rural occupations and crafts to industrial tasks and trades. Overall, the pursuit of middle-class status became a driving force. As this book illustrates, however, most people, though affected by the major upheavals of history, simply pursued their personal lives. Sutherland chronicles dating and marriage customs, the dangers and discomforts of mining, and life in the gambling dens, saloons, dance halls, and "cathouses" of the period. Through extensive quotations from diaries, letters, and the popular press, the reader glimpses an American middle class just beginning to grope its way toward the modern world.
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Family Trouble
Middle-Class Parents, Children's Problems, and the Disruption of Everyday Life
Francis, Ara
Rutgers University Press, 2015
Our children mean the world to us. They are so central to our hopes and dreams that we will do almost anything to keep them healthy, happy, and safe. What happens, then, when a child has serious problems? In Family Trouble, a compelling portrait of upheaval in family life, sociologist Ara Francis tells the stories of middle-class men and women whose children face significant medical, psychological, and social challenges. 
 
Francis interviewed the mothers and fathers of children with such problems as depression, bi-polar disorder, autism, learning disabilities, drug addiction, alcoholism, fetal alcohol syndrome, and cerebral palsy. Children’s problems, she finds, profoundly upset the foundations of parents’ everyday lives, overturning taken-for-granted expectations, daily routines, and personal relationships. Indeed, these problems initiated a chain of disruption that moved through parents’ lives in domino-like fashion, culminating in a crisis characterized by uncertainty, loneliness, guilt, grief, and anxiety. Francis looks at how mothers and fathers often differ in their interpretation of a child’s condition, discusses the gendered nature of child rearing, and describes how parents struggle to find effective treatments and to successfully navigate medical and educational bureaucracies. But above all, Family Trouble examines how children’s problems disrupt middle-class dreams of the “normal” family. It captures how children’s problems “radiate” and spill over into other areas of parents’ lives, wreaking havoc even on their identities, leading them to reevaluate deeply held assumptions about their own sense of self and what it means to achieve the good life.  

Engagingly written, Family Trouble offers insight to professionals and solace to parents. The book offers a clear message to anyone in the throes of family trouble: you are in good company, and you are not as different as you might feel...
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Ghostly Encounters
The Hauntings of Everyday Life
Dennis Waskul
Temple University Press, 2016

In the top corner of the window a pale, milky-white wisp is rising almost to the top of our ten-foot ceiling…. I am startled but not afraid…. Mostly, I am engrossed; I have never seen anything like this before (or since) and it fascinates me.”

Dennis Waskul writes these lines—about his first-hand experience with the supernatural—in the introduction to his beguiling book Ghostly Encounters. Based on two years of fieldwork and interviews with 71 midwestern Americans, the Waskuls’ book is a reflexive ethnography that examines how people experience ghosts and hauntings in everyday life. The authors explore how uncanny happenings become ghosts, and the reasons people struggle with or against a will to believe. They present the variety and character of hauntings and ghostly encounters, outcomes of people telling haunted legends, and the nested consequences of ghostly experiences.

Through these stories, Ghostly Encounters seeks to understand the persistence of uncanny experiences and beliefs in ghosts in an age of reason, science, education, and technology—as well as how those beliefs and experiences both reflect and serve important social and cultural functions.

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Ishikawa Sanshir.’s Geographical Imagination
Transnational Anarchism and the Reconfiguration of Everyday Life in Early Twentieth-Century Japan
Nadine Willems
Leiden University Press, 2020
Antiestablishment ideas in contemporary Japan are tied closely to its recent history of capitalist development and industrialization. Activist Ishikawa Sanshiro exemplifies this idea, by merging European and Japanese thought throughout the early twentieth century. Ishikawa Sanshiro’s Geographical Imagination investigates the emergence of a strand of nonviolent anarchism and uses it to reassess the role of geographic thought in modern Japan as both a tool for political dissent and a basis for dialogue between radical thinkers and activists from the East and West. By tracing Ishikawa’s travels, intellectual interests, and real-life encounters, Nadine Willems identifies a transnational “geographical imagination” that valued ethics of cooperation in the social sphere and explored the interactions between man and nature. Additionally, this work explores anarchist activism and the role played by the practices of everyday life as a powerful force of sociopolitical change.
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The Joyce of Everyday Life
Vicki Mahaffey
Bucknell University Press, 2025
Part of James Joyce’s genius was his ability to find the poetry in everyday life. For Joyce, even a simple object like a table becomes magical, “a board that was of the birchwood of Finlandy and it was upheld by four dwarfmen of that country but they durst not move more for enchantment.” How might we learn to regain some of the child-like play with language and sense of delight in the ordinary that comes so naturally to Joyce?   
 
The Joyce of Everyday Life teaches us how to interpret seemingly mundane objects and encounters with openness and active curiosity in order to attain greater self-understanding and a fuller appreciation of others. Through a close examination of Joyce's joyous, musical prose, it shows how language provides us with the means to revitalize daily experience and social interactions across a huge, diverse, everchanging world.
 
Acclaimed Joyce scholar Vicki Mahaffey demonstrates how his writing might prompt us to engage in a different kind of reading, treating words and fiction as tools for expanding the boundaries of the self with humor and feeling. A book for everyone who loves language, The Joyce of Everyday Life is a lyrical romp through quotidian existence.
 
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Kitchenspace
Women, Fiestas, and Everyday Life in Central Mexico
By Maria Elisa Christie
University of Texas Press, 2008

Throughout the world, the kitchen is the heart of family and community life. Yet, while everyone has a story to tell about their grandmother's kitchen, the myriad activities that go on in this usually female world are often devalued, and little scholarly attention has been paid to this crucial space in which family, gender, and community relations are forged and maintained. To give the kitchen the prominence and respect it merits, Maria Elisa Christie here offers a pioneering ethnography of kitchenspace in three central Mexican communities, Xochimilco, Ocotepec, and Tetecala.

Christie coined the term "kitchenspace" to encompass both the inside kitchen area in which everyday meals for the family are made and the larger outside cooking area in which elaborate meals for community fiestas are prepared by many women working together. She explores how both kinds of meal preparation create bonds among family and community members. In particular, she shows how women's work in preparing food for fiestas gives women status in their communities and creates social networks of reciprocal obligation. In a culture rigidly stratified by gender, Christie concludes, kitchenspace gives women a source of power and a place in which to transmit the traditions and beliefs of older generations through quasi-sacramental food rites.

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Law in Everyday Life
Austin Sarat and Thomas R. Kearns, Editors
University of Michigan Press, 1995
"Sarat and Kearns . . . have edited a truly marvelous work on the impact of the law on daily life and vice versa. . . . the essays are all exemplary, thought- provoking works worthy of a long, contemplative read by scholars, lawyers, and judges alike." --Choice
"The subject of law in everyday life is timely in theory and in practice. The essays collected here are stimulating for the very different ways in which they reconfigure the meanings of 'the law' as cultural practice, and 'the everyday' as a cultural domain in which the state expresses a range of interests and engagements. Readers looking for an introduction to this topic will come away from the book with a clear sense of the varied voices and modes of inquiry now involved in sociolegal studies, and what distinguishes them. More experienced readers will appreciate the book's meticulous reconsideration of the instrumentalities, agencies, and constructedness of law." --Carol Greenhouse, Indiana University
Contributors include David Engel, Hendrik Hartog, Thomas R. Kearns, David Kennedy, Catharine MacKinnon, George Marcus, Austin Sarat, and Patricia Williams.
Austin Sarat is William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science, and Chair of the Department of Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought, Amherst College. Thomas R. Kearns is William H. Hastie Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought, Amherst College.
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Luck
The Brilliant Randomness Of Everyday Life
Nicholas Rescher
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2001

Luck touches us all. "Why me?" we complain when things go wrong—though seldom when things go right. But although luck has a firm hold on all our lives, we seldom reflect on it in a cogent, concerted way.

In Luck, one of our most eminent philosophers offers a realistic view of the nature and operation of luck to help us come to sensible terms with life in a chaotic world. Differentiating luck from fate (inexorable destiny) and fortune (mere chance), Nicholas Rescher weaves a colorful tapestry of historical examples, from the use of lots in the Old and New Testaments to Thomas Gataker’s treatise of 1619 on the great English lottery of 1612, from casino gambling to playing the stock market. Because we are creatures of limited knowledge who do and must make decisions in the light of incomplete information, Rescher argues, we are inevitably at the mercy of luck. It behooves us to learn more about it.

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Maoism at the Grassroots
Everyday Life in China’s Era of High Socialism
Jeremy Brown
Harvard University Press, 2015

The Maoist state’s dominance over Chinese society, achieved through such watersheds as the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, is well known. Maoism at the Grassroots reexamines this period of transformation and upheaval from a new perspective, one that challenges the standard state-centered view. Bringing together scholars from China, Europe, North America, and Taiwan, this volume marshals new research to reveal a stunning diversity of individual viewpoints and local experiences during China’s years of high socialism.

Focusing on the period from the mid-1950s to 1980, the authors provide insights into the everyday lives of citizens across social strata, ethnicities, and regions. They explore how ordinary men and women risked persecution and imprisonment in order to assert personal beliefs and identities. Many displayed a shrewd knack for negotiating the maze-like power structures of everyday Maoism, appropriating regime ideology in their daily lives while finding ways to express discontent and challenge the state’s pervasive control.

Heterogeneity, limited pluralism, and tensions between official and popular culture were persistent features of Maoism at the grassroots. Men had gay relationships in factory dormitories, teenagers penned searing complaints in diaries, mentally ill individuals cursed Mao, farmers formed secret societies and worshipped forbidden spirits. These diverse undercurrents were as representative of ordinary people’s lives as the ideals promulgated in state propaganda.

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Misery and Company
Sympathy in Everyday Life
Candace Clark
University of Chicago Press, 1997
In a kind of social tour of sympathy, Candace Clark reveals that the emotional experience we call sympathy has a history, logic, and life of its own. Although sympathy may seem to be a natural, reflexive reaction, people are not born knowing when, for whom, and in what circumstances sympathy is appropriate. Rather, they learn elaborate, highly specific rules—different rules for men than for women—that guide when to feel or display sympathy, when to claim it, and how to accept it. Using extensive interviews, cultural artifacts, and "intensive eavesdropping" in public places, such as hospitals and funeral parlors, as well as analyzing charity appeals, blues lyrics, greeting cards, novels, and media reports, Clark shows that we learn culturally prescribed rules that govern our expression of sympathy.

"Clark's . . . research methods [are] inventive and her glimpses of U.S. life revealing. . . . And you have to love a social scientist so respectful of Miss Manners."—Clifford Orwin, Toronto Globe and Mail

"Clark offers a thought-provoking and quite interesting etiquette of sympathy according to which we ought to act in order to preserve the sympathy credits we can call on in time of need."—Virginia Quarterly Review
[more]

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The Morality of Everyday Life
Rediscovering an Ancient Alternative to the Liberal Tradition
Thomas Fleming
University of Missouri Press, 2007

In TheMorality of Everyday Life, Thomas Fleming offers an alternative to the enlightened liberalism espoused by thinkers as different as Kant, Mill, Rand, and Rawls. Philosophers in the liberal tradition, although they disagree on many important questions, agree that moral and political problems should be looked at from an objective point of view and a decision made from a rational perspective that is universally applied to all comparable cases.

Fleming instead places importance on the particular, the local, and moral complexity.  He advocates a return to premodern traditions, such as those exemplified in the texts of Aristotle, the Talmud, and the folk wisdom in ancient Greek literature, for a solution to ethical predicaments. In his view, liberalism and postmodernism ignore the fact that human beings by their very nature refuse to live in a world of universal abstractions.

While such modern philosophers as Kant and Kohlberg have regarded a mother’s self-sacrificing love for her children as beneath their level of morality, folk wisdom tells us it is nearly the highest morality, taking precedence over the duties of citizenship or the claims of humanity. Fleming believes that a modern type of “casuistry” should be applied to these moral conflicts in which the line between right and wrong is rarely clear.

This volume will appeal to students of ethics and classics, as well as the general educated reader, who will appreciate Fleming’s jargon-free prose. Teachers will find this text useful because each chapter is a self-contained essay that could be used as the basis for classroom discussion.   

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Nietzsche's Corps/e
Aesthetics, Politics, Prophecy, or, the Spectacular Technoculture of Everyday Life
Geoff Waite
Duke University Press, 1996
Appearing between two historical touchstones—the alleged end of communism and the 100th anniversary of Nietzsche’s death—this book offers a provocative hypothesis about the philosopher’s afterlife and the fate of leftist thought and culture. At issue is the relation of the dead Nietzsche (corpse) and his written work (corpus) to subsequent living Nietzscheanism across the political spectrum, but primarily among a leftist corps that has been programmed and manipulated by concealed dimensions of the philosopher’s thought. If anyone is responsible for what Geoff Waite maintains is the illusory death of communism, it is Nietzsche, the man and concept.
Waite advances his argument by bringing Marxist—especially Gramscian and Althusserian—theories to bear on the concept of Nietzsche/anism. But he also goes beyond ideological convictions to explore the vast Nietzschean influence that proliferates throughout the marketplace of contemporary philosophy, political and literary theory, and cultural and technocultural criticism. In light of a philological reconstruction of Nietzsche’s published and unpublished texts, Nietzsche’s Corps/e shuttles between philosophy and everyday popular culture and shows them to be equally significant in their having been influenced by Nietzsche—in however distorted a form and in a way that compromises all of our best interests.
Controversial in its “decelebration” of Nietzsche, this remarkable study asks whether the postcontemporary age already upon us will continue to be dominated and oriented by the haunting spectre of Nietzsche’s corps/e. Philosophers, intellectual historians, literary theorists, and those interested in western Marxism, popular culture, Friedrich Nietzsche, and the intersection of French and German thought will find this book both appealing and challenging.
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The Normality of Civil War
Armed Groups and Everyday Life in Angola
Teresa Koloma Beck
Campus Verlag, 2012
In The Normality of Civil War, Teresa Koloma Beck uses theories of the everyday to analyze the social processes of civil war, specifically the type of conflict that is characterized by the expansion of violence into so-called normal life. She looks beyond simplistic notions of victims and perpetrators to reveal the complex shifting interdependencies that emerge during wartime. She also explores  how the process of normalization affects both armed groups and the civilian population. A brief but smart analysis, The Normality of Civil War gets at the root of the social dynamics of war and what lies ahead for the participants after its end.

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On the Psychotheology of Everyday Life
Reflections on Freud and Rosenzweig
Eric L. Santner
University of Chicago Press, 2001
In On the Psychotheology of Everyday Life, Eric Santner puts Sigmund Freud in dialogue with his contemporary Franz Rosenzweig in the service of reimagining ethical and political life. By exploring the theological dimensions of Freud's writings and revealing unexpected psychoanalytic implications in the religious philosophy of Rosenzweig's masterwork, The Star of Redemption, Santner makes an original argument for understanding religions of revelation in therapeutic terms, and offers a penetrating look at how this understanding suggests fruitful ways of reconceiving political community.

Santner's crucial innovation in this new study is to bring the theological notion of revelation into a broadly psychoanalytic field, where it can be understood as a force that opens the self to everyday life and encourages accountability within the larger world. Revelation itself becomes redefined as an openness toward what is singular, enigmatic, even uncanny about the Other, whether neighbor or stranger, thereby linking a theory of drives and desire to a critical account of sociality. Santner illuminates what it means to be genuinely open to another human being or culture and to share and take responsibility for one's implication in the dilemmas of difference.

By bringing Freud and Rosenzweig together, Santner not only clarifies in new and surprising ways the profound connections between psychoanalysis and the Judeo-Christian tradition, he makes the resources of both available to contemporary efforts to rethink concepts of community and cross-cultural communication.
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Place Me With Your Son
Ignatian Spirituality in Everyday Life, Third Edition
James W. Skehan, SJ
Georgetown University Press, 1991

Arranged as a twenty-four week retreat in four phases, this edition is a guide to The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola. It incorporates "centering" exercises of awareness patterned on Eastern or Buddhist meditation practices and devotional exercises similar to or drawn from those found in Sadhana, by the late Anthony de Mello, SJ. Poems and prayers by Rainer Maria Rilke, Rabindranath Tagore, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Edith Sitwell, and others are also included, as well as materials from Teilhard de Chardin's Divine Milieu.

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Policing and the Poetics of Everyday Life
Jonathan M. Wender
University of Illinois Press, 2008
Policing and the Poetics of Everyday Life takes a unique approach to the investigation of several abiding issues at the center of criminological and sociological inquiry by engaging them from a standpoint grounded in philosophy and aesthetics. This study by a self-described “philosopher-cop” develops a phenomenological interpretation of police-citizen encounters, revealing the importance of metaphysics in everyday life through a disclosure of the grounding principles that inform the bureaucratic approach to human predicaments. Jonathan M. Wender, a social philosopher and veteran police sergeant, brings a refreshing new voice to academic and practical discussions of social questions that are otherwise addressed almost exclusively from a narrow scientific or administrative perspective.

This book reflects a conscious attempt to follow the general model of Martin Heidegger’s Zollikon Seminars, in which Heidegger engaged psychiatrists and psychologists in a sustained dialogue aimed at developing their critical awareness of the unexamined philosophical foundations informing their everyday clinical practice. Wender draws on Heidegger to argue that “praxis is poetry” and from this standpoint interprets all social action as intentional creation (or “poiesis”), which by its very nature is intrinsically meaningful. Using an interpretive framework that he calls a “phenomenological aesthetics of encounter,” Wender takes up a number of case studies of police-citizen encounters, including cases of domestic violence, contacts with juveniles, drug-related situations, instances of mental and emotional crisis, and death.

[more]

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Power and Everyday Life
The Lives of Working Women in Nineteenth-Century Brazil
Dias, Maria Odila Silva
Rutgers University Press, 1995

This important new work is a study of the everyday lives of the inhabitants of São Paulo in the nineteenth century. Full of vivid detail, the book concentrates on the lives of working women--black, white, Indian, mulatta, free, freed, and slaves, and their struggles to survive. Drawing on official statistics, and on the accounts of travelers and judicial records, the author paints a lively picture of the jobs, both legal and illegal, that were performed by women. Her research leads to some surprising discoveries, including the fact that many women were the main providers for their families and that their work was crucial to the running of several urban industries. This book, which is a unique record of women’s lives across social and race strata in a multicultural society, should be of interest to students and researchers in women’s studies, urban studies, historians, geographers, economists, sociologists, and anthropologists.

[more]

front cover of Power and Everyday Life
Power and Everyday Life
The Lives of Working Women in Nineteenth-Century Brazil
Dias, Maria Odila Silva
Rutgers University Press, 1995

This important new work is a study of the everyday lives of the inhabitants of São Paulo in the nineteenth century. Full of vivid detail, the book concentrates on the lives of working women--black, white, Indian, mulatta, free, freed, and slaves, and their struggles to survive. Drawing on official statistics, and on the accounts of travelers and judicial records, the author paints a lively picture of the jobs, both legal and illegal, that were performed by women. Her research leads to some surprising discoveries, including the fact that many women were the main providers for their families and that their work was crucial to the running of several urban industries. This book, which is a unique record of women’s lives across social and race strata in a multicultural society, should be of interest to students and researchers in women’s studies, urban studies, historians, geographers, economists, sociologists, and anthropologists.

[more]

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Practice of Everyday Life
Volume 2: Living and Cooking
Michel De Certeau
University of Minnesota Press, 1998
To remain unconsumed by consumer society—this was the goal, pursued through a world of subtle and practical means, that beckoned throughout the first volume of The Practice of Everyday Life. The second volume of the work delves even deeper than did the first into the subtle tactics of resistance and private practices that make living a subversive art. Michel de Certeau, Luce Giard, and Pierre Mayol develop a social history of “making do” based on microhistories that move from the private sphere (of dwelling, cooking, and homemaking) to the public (the experience of living in a neighborhood). A series of interviews—mostly with women—allows us to follow the subjects’ individual routines, composed of the habits, constraints, and inventive strategies by which the speakers negotiate daily life. Through these accounts the speakers, “ordinary” people all, are revealed to be anything but passive consumers. Amid these experiences and voices, the ephemeral inventions of the “obscure heroes” of the everyday, we watch the art of making do become the art of living.This long-awaited second volume of de Certeau’s masterwork, updated and revised in this first English edition, completes the picture begun in volume 1, drawing to the last detail the collective practices that define the texture, substance, and importance of the everyday.Michel de Certeau (1925-1986) wrote numerous books that have been translated into English, including Heterologies (1986), The Capture of Speech (1998), and Culture in the Plural (1998), all published by Minnesota. Luce Giard is senior researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and is affiliated with the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris. She is visiting professor of history and history of science at the University of California, San Diego. Pierre Mayol is a researcher in the French Ministry of Culture in Paris.Timothy J. Tomasik is a freelance translator pursuing a Ph.D. in French literature at Harvard University.
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The Quest for Sexual Health
How an Elusive Ideal Has Transformed Science, Politics, and Everyday Life
Steven Epstein
University of Chicago Press, 2022
Offering an entryway into the distinctive worlds of sexual health and a window onto their spillover effects, sociologist Steven Epstein traces the development of the concept and parses the debates that swirl around it.

Since the 1970s, health professionals, researchers, governments, advocacy groups, and commercial interests have invested in the pursuit of something called "sexual health." Under this expansive banner, a wide array of programs have been launched, organizations founded, initiatives funded, products sold—and yet, no book before this one asks: What does it mean to be sexually healthy? When did people conceive of a form of health called sexual health? And how did it become the gateway to addressing a host of social harms and the reimagining of private desires and public dreams? 

Conjoining "sexual" with "health" changes both terms: it alters how we conceive of sexuality and transforms what it means to be healthy, prompting new expectations of what medicine can provide. Yet the ideal of achieving sexual health remains elusive and open-ended, and the benefits and costs of promoting it are unevenly distributed across genders, races, and sexual identities. Rather than a thing apart, sexual health is intertwined with nearly every conceivable topical debate—from sexual dysfunction to sexual violence, from reproductive freedom to the practicalities of sexual contact in a pandemic. In this book Steven Epstein analyzes the rise, proliferation, uptake, and sprawling consequences of sexual health activities, offering critical tools to assess those consequences, expand capacities for collective decision making, and identify pathways that promote social justice.
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Real Kids
Creating Meaning in Everyday Life
Susan L. Engel
Harvard University Press, 2005

Decades of work in psychology labs have vastly enhanced our knowledge about how children perceive, think, and reason. But it has also encouraged a distorted view of children, argues psychologist Susan Engel in this provocative and passionate book--a view that has affected every parent who has tried to debate with a six-year-old. By focusing on the thinking processes prized by adults, too many expert opinions have rendered children as little adults. What has been lost is what is truly unique and mysterious--the childlike quality of a child's mind.

Engel draws on keen observations and descriptive research to take us into the nearly forgotten, untidy, phantasmagorical world of children's inner lives. She reminds us that children fuse thought and emotion, play and reality; they swing wildly between different ways of interpreting and acting in the world. But just as a gawky child may grow into a beauty, illogical and sometimes maddening childishness can foreshadow great adult ability.

Engel argues that the "scientist in a crib" view encourages parents and teachers to expect more logical reasoning and emotional self-control from children than they possess. She provides a concise and valuable overview of what modern developmental psychologists have learned about children's developing powers of perception and capacity for reasoning, but also suggests new ways of studying children that better capture the truth about their young minds.

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Redefining the Political
Black Feminism and the Politics of Everyday Life
Alex J. Moffett-Bateau
Temple University Press, 2024
Redefining the Political documents the political life of a community of Black women living below the poverty line. Alex Moffett-Bateau spent a year interviewing residents of a public housing development on the far South Side of Chicago about their politics, political communities, and how they create collective power.

Moffett-Bateau uses radical Black feminist political theory and develops a framework called the political possible-self, which argues that belonging to a community and developing political imagination foment change. These women employ grassroots efforts to subvert oppressive power structures by protesting institutions within their communities, addressing the benign neglect of their housing development, organizing community art shows and meals, volunteering at local public schools, and holding meetings to increase the political confidence of public-housing tenants by educating them on navigating government bureaucracies.

Ultimately, Redefining the Political shows how political engagement at both the individual and community levels can be fruitful for nontraditional political contributions.
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Sadomasochism in Everyday Life
The Dynamics of Power and Powerlessness
Chancer, Lynn S.
Rutgers University Press, 1992

Lynn Chancer advances the provocative thesis that sadomasochism is far more prevalent in contemporary societies like the United States than we realize. According to Chancer, sexual sadomasochism is only the best-known manifestation of what is actually a much more broadly based social phenomenon. Moving from personal relationships to school, the workplace, and other interactions, Chancer uses a variety of examples that are linked by a recurrent pattern of behavior. She goes beyond the predominantly individualistic and psychological explanations generally associated with sadomasochism (including those popularized in the "how to" literature of the recent Women Who Love Too Much genre) toward a more sociological interpretation. Chancer suggests that the structure of societies organized along male-dominated and capitalistic lines reflects and perpetuates a sadomasochistic social psychology, creating a culture steeped in everyday experiences of dominance and subordination.

In the first part of the book, Chancer discusses the prevalence of sadomasochistic cultural imagery in contemporary America and examines sadomasochism through several perspectives. She develops a set of definitional traits both through existential analysis of an instance of S/M sex and by incorporating a number of Hegelian and psychoanalytic concepts. In the second part of the book, she places sadomasochism in a broader context by exploring whether and how it appears in the workplace and how it relates to gender and race.

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Soap Fans
Pursuing Pleasure and Making Meaning in Everyday Life
C. Lee Harrington and Denise D. Bielby
Temple University Press, 1995

Do soap opera fans deserve their reputation as lonely people, hopeless losers, or bored housewives? No, according to C. Lee Harrington and Denise D. Bielby. These authors—soap fans themselves—argue that soap fans are normal individuals who translate their soap watching into a broad range of public and private experience. People who cut across all categories of age, gender, race, ethnicity, income, education, and ideology incorporate a love of the soaps into their day-to-day leisure activities.

Interviews with soap opera viewers, actors, writers, producers, directors, the daytime press, and fan club staff members reveal fascinating details about the inside world of fandom and the multitude of outlets for fan expression—clubs, newsletters, electronic bulletin boards, and public events. Numerous examples illustrate the pleasure fans derive from critiquing characters, speculating on plot twists, and swapping memorabilia.

Examining the experiences that shape fan culture, Harrington and Bielby analyze the narrative structure and various aspects of the production of the soaps. Their examination reveals that the "meaning" of soaps is complex, individualized, and not simply a reflection of the narrative content of the stories. The authors show fans who actively contemplate what it means to be a fan, and who adjust their level of involvement accordingly.

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Somalis Abroad
Clan and Everyday Life in Finland
Stephanie R. Bjork
University of Illinois Press, 2017
Drawing on a wealth of ethnographic detail, Stephanie Bjork offers the first study on the messy role of clan or tribe in the Somali diaspora, and the only study on the subject to include women's perspectives. Somalis Abroad illuminates the ways clan is contested alongside ideas of autonomy and gender equality, challenged by affinities towards others with similar migration experiences, transformed because of geographical separation from family members, and leveraged by individuals for cultural capital. Challenging prevailing views in the field, Bjork argues that clan-informed practices influence everything from asylum decisions to managing money. The practices also become a pattern that structures important relationships via constant--and unwitting--effort.
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States Of Exception
Everyday Life and Postcolonial Identity
Keya Ganguly
University of Minnesota Press, 2001

Explores the conflict between capitalism and tradition in an immigrant community.

A philosophical anthropology of everyday experience, this book is also a deeply informed and thought-provoking reflection on the work of cultural critique. States of Exception looks into a community of immigrants from India living in southern New Jersey—a group to whom the author, as a daughter of two of its members, enjoyed unprecedented access.

Her position allows Keya Ganguly to approach the culture of a middle-class group (albeit one that is marginalized by racial prejudice), while the group’s relatively comfortable and protected style of life offers unusual insight into the concept of the everyday and the sense in which a seemingly commonplace existence can be understood as in crisis: a state of exception. Thus, Ganguly draws on the work of the Frankfurt School, particularly Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno, to explore the possibilities of a dialectical critique of the everyday—a state of exception informing ordinary yet crisis-ridden narratives of the self under late capitalism.
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TV Snapshots
An Archive of Everyday Life
Lynn Spigel
Duke University Press, 2022
In TV Snapshots, Lynn Spigel explores snapshots of people posing in front of their television sets in the 1950s through the early 1970s. Like today’s selfies, TV snapshots were a popular photographic practice through which people visualized their lives in an increasingly mediated culture. Drawing on her collection of over 5,000 TV snapshots, Spigel shows that people did not just watch TV: women used the TV set as a backdrop for fashion and glamour poses; people dressed in drag in front of the screen; and in pinup poses, people even turned the TV setting into a space for erotic display. While the television industry promoted on-screen images of white nuclear families in suburban homes, the snapshots depict a broad range of people across racial, ethnic, and class backgrounds that do not always conform to the reigning middle-class nuclear family ideal. Showing how the television set became a central presence in the home that exceeded its mass entertainment function, Spigel highlights how TV snapshots complicate understandings of the significance of television in everyday life.
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Uncertainty of Everyday Life, 1915–1945
Harvey Green
University of Arkansas Press, 1992
The era between the world wars, from the "roaring 20s" to the grim days of the Great Depression, was a time of tremendous change. The United States became an increasingly urban culture as people left their farms to seek work in the cities. Many blacks moved North to escape the violence and racism of a resurgent Ku Klux Klan in the South. And, while life became more comfortable for many Americans during this period, by 1941 only half the population enjoyed the modern conveniences we now take for granted. With improvements in technology and the rise of consumerism (spurred by the new "science" of advertising) the country was expanding in every direction. However, for many Americans, daily life was fraught with uncertainty. Jobs and wages were unpredictable, labor unrest was constant, and savings vanished in the stock market. In this vividly detailed narrative, Harvey Green recounts an era of unprecedented change in American culture and examines the impact of these uncertain times on such aspects of daily life as employment, home life, gender roles, education, religion, and recreation.
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Urban Chroniclers in Modern Latin America
The Shared Intimacy of Everyday Life
By Viviane Mahieux
University of Texas Press, 2011

An unstructured genre that blends high aesthetic standards with nonfiction commentary, the journalistic crónica, or chronicle, has played a vital role in Latin American urban life since the nineteenth century. Drawing on extensive archival research, Viviane Mahieux delivers new testimony on how chroniclers engaged with modernity in Mexico City, Buenos Aires, and São Paulo during the 1920s and 1930s, a time when avant-garde movements transformed writers' and readers' conceptions of literature. Urban Chroniclers in Modern Latin America: The Shared Intimacy of Everyday Life examines the work of extraordinary raconteurs Salvador Novo, Cube Bonifant, Roberto Arlt, Alfonsina Storni, and Mário de Andrade, restoring the original newspaper contexts in which their articles first emerged.

Each of these writers guided their readers through a constantly changing cityscape and advised them on matters of cultural taste, using their ties to journalism and their participation in urban practice to share accessible wisdom and establish their role as intellectual arbiters. The intimate ties they developed with their audience fostered a permeable concept of literature that would pave the way for overtly politically engaged chroniclers of the 1960s and 1970s. Providing comparative analysis as well as reflection on the evolution of this important genre, Urban Chroniclers in Modern Latin America is the first systematic study of the Latin American writers who forged a new reading public in the early twentieth century.

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Urbanism without Guarantees
The Everyday Life of a Gentrifying West Side Neighborhood
Christian M. Anderson
University of Minnesota Press, 2020

A unique more-than-capitalist take on urban dynamics

Vigilante action. Renegades. Human intrigue and the future at stake in New York City. In Urbanism without Guarantees, Christian M. Anderson offers a new perspective on urban dynamics and urban structural inequality based on an intimate ethnography of on-the-ground gentrification.

The book is centered on ethnographic work undertaken on a single street in Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen in New York City—once a site of disinvestment, but now rapidly gentrifying. Anderson examines the everyday strategies of residents to preserve the quality of life of their neighborhood and to define and maintain their values of urban living—from picking up litter and reporting minor concerns on the 311 hotline to hiring a private security firm to monitor the local public park. Anderson demonstrates how processes such as investment and gentrification are constructed out of the collective actions of ordinary people, and challenges prevalent understandings of how place-based civic actions connect with dominant forms of political economy and repressive governance in urban space. 

Examining how residents are pulled into these systems of gentrification, Anderson proposes new ways to think and act critically and organize for transformation of a place—in actions that local residents can start to do wherever they are.

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Why Icebergs Float
Exploring Science in Everyday Life
Andrew Morris
University College London, 2016
From paintings and food to illness and icebergs, science is happening everywhere. Rather than follow the path of a syllabus or textbook, Andrew Morris takes examples from the science we see every day and uses them as entry points to explain a number of fundamental scientific concepts – from understanding colour to the nature of hormones – in ways that anyone can grasp. While each chapter offers a separate story, they are linked together by their fascinating relevance to our daily lives. The topics explored in each chapter are based on hundreds of discussions the author has led with adult science learners over many years – people who came from all walks of life and had no scientific training, but had developed a burning curiosity to understand the world around them. This book encourages us to reflect on our own relationship with science and serves as an important reminder of why we should continue learning as adults.
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Wisecracks
Humor and Morality in Everyday Life
David Shoemaker
University of Chicago Press, 2024
A philosopher’s case for the importance of good—if ethically questionable—humor.

A good sense of humor is key to the good life, but a joke taken too far can get anyone into trouble. Where to draw the line is not as simple as it may seem. After all, even the most innocent quips between friends rely on deception, sarcasm, and stereotypes and often run the risk of disrespect, meanness, and harm. How do we face this dilemma without taking ourselves too seriously?

In Wisecracks, philosopher David Shoemaker examines this interplay between humor and morality and ultimately argues that even morally suspect humor is an essential part of ethical life. Shoemaker shows how improvised “wisecracks” between family and friends—unlike scripted stand-up, sketches, or serials—help us develop a critical human skill: the ability to carry on and find the funny in tragedy. In developing a new ethics of humor in defense of questionable gibes, Wisecracks offers a powerful case for humor as a healing presence in human life.
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Writing as Punishment in Schools, Courts, and Everyday Life
Spencer Schaffner
University of Alabama Press, 2019
A probing and prescient consideration of writing as an instrument of punishment
 
Writing tends to be characterized as a positive aspect of literacy that helps us to express our thoughts, to foster interpersonal communication, and to archive ideas. However, there is a vast array of evidence that emphasizes the counterbelief that writing has the power to punish, shame, humiliate, control, dehumanize, fetishize, and transform those who are subjected to it. In Writing as Punishment in Schools, Courts, and Everyday Life, Spencer Schaffner looks at many instances of writing as punishment, including forced tattooing, drunk shaming, court-ordered letters of apology, and social media shaming, with the aim of bringing understanding and recognition to the coupling of literacy and subjection.
 
Writing as Punishment in Schools, Courts, and Everyday Life is a fascinating inquiry into how sinister writing can truly be and directly questions the educational ideal that powerful writing is invariably a public good. While Schaffner does look at the darker side of writing, he neither vilifies nor supports the practice of writing as punishment. Rather, he investigates the question with humanistic inquiry and focuses on what can be learned from understanding the many strange ways that writing as punishment is used to accomplish fundamental objectives in everyday life.
 
Through five succinct case studies, we meet teachers, judges, parents, sex traffickers, and drunken partiers who have turned to writing because of its presumed power over writers and readers. Schaffner provides careful analysis of familiar punishments, such as schoolchildren copying lines, and more bizarre public rituals that result in ink-covered bodies and individuals forced to hold signs in public.
 
Schaffner argues that writing-based punishment should not be dismissed as benign or condemned as a misguided perversion of writing, but instead should be understood as an instrument capable of furthering both the aims of justice and degradation.
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