I had no choice but to miss the lecture today and I could not for the life of me understand the audio recording, so I’ve had to make do with the lecture slides from Adrian’s Dropmark and scouring the class blogs (thank you Ned, Michael and Denise!).
I was hoping that I would get a bit more elaboration on the reading Adrian set — chapter three from Michel de Certeau’s The Practice of Everyday Life — but not so from what I gather from the lecture. On my first reading I, like almost everyone else I’ve noticed, struggled to understand what the hell was going on. I made precisely one note. To try and understand, I looked over the class blogs again for some help. They steered me on track a little but most people had only covered the beginning bits. I read it again and made some more notes. Today, I read it for a third time and took notes for the rest of it. I looked over the class blogs again. I formed some ideas. I’m not really sure how to go about this reading, so I’ve decided to simply copy out the notes I took and see if I can expand on my understanding of them.
…the dividing line no longer falls between work and leisure. These two areas of activity flow together. They repeat and reinforce each other.
A distinction is required other than the one that distributes behaviours according to their place (of work or leisure) and qualifies them thus by the fact that they are located on one or another square of the social checkerboard…
Although they remain dependent on the possibilities offered by circumstance, these traverse tactics do not obey the law of the place, for they are not defined or identified by it.
I think what this section is basically saying is, things previously defined as “leisure” should not be so cast aside because they are equally worthwhile methods of “making do”. This was kind of mentioned in the lecture slides, but I can’t tell if Adrian is saying the everyday is trivial or it’s not (because I wasn’t there). Or maybe this is about the “in between” work and leisure, like la perruque. What I’m struggling with already here is, what is the relevance?
These “ways of operating” are similar to “instructions for use” and they create a certain play in the machine through a stratification of different and interfering kinds of functioning. Thus a North African living in Paris… creates for himself a space in which he can find ways of using the constraining order of the place or of the language.
So, the North African is “in between” knowledge of his old home and his new home and he “makes do” with the ways of operating that he must create for himself from all of that information grafted together. I think.
The thousands of people who buy a health magazine, the customers in a supermarket, the practitioners of urban space, the consumers of newspaper stories and legends — what do they make of what they “absorb,” receive and pay for? What do they do with it?
The television viewer… has been dislodged from the product; he plays no role in its apparition.
Taking cues from Madeline, I am reminded of Weinberger. Just because you read things in a book, does that mean you know it? It makes me think of that fear people have of losing authority. I feel like this relates to filtering forward and I know there are parts further on that are definitely similar.
…”consumption”… characterised not by its own products but in an art of using those imposed on it.
The consumer cannot be identified or qualified by the newspapers or commercial products he assimilates between the person (who uses them) and these products (indexes of the “order” which is imposed on him), there is a gap of varying proportions opened by the use that he makes of them.
Now this definitely makes me think of filtering forward. As Fabien explains, we need to reevaluate the idea that the consumer is just passive. We are not passive; we are always filtering forward. I am starting to see a whole picture here… As a side note, Ned points out the frustratingly vague example given here about Spanish colonisation of “indigenous Indian culture” (which I assume is talking about South America?)
…distinction between “langue” (a system) and “parole” (an act)…
Users, like renters, acquire the right to operate on and with this fund without owning it.
By situating the act in relation to its circumstances, “contexts of use” draw attention to the traits that specify the act of speaking (or practice of language) and are its effects. Enunciation furnishes a model of these characteristics…
This example is better, I think. Language is a very set system and model with rules. But language does not have to be that way and is, in fact, totally different when people are actually using it. It is not just something that people “rent” but rather something they can mould themselves. Enunciation is a good example of this because, as de Certeau goes on to say, enunciation is made up of: 1) a realisation, 2) an appropriation, 3) a contract, and 4) a present.
A strategy is the calculation (or manipulation) of power relationships that becomes possible as soon as a subject with will and power (a business, an army, a city, a scientific institution) can be isolated.
A tactic is a calculated action determined by the absence of a proper locus.
One deploys his forces, one does not take chances with feints. Power is bound by its very visibility. In contrast, trickery is possible for the weak, and often it is his only possibility, as a “last resort.”
This is an interesting thing. Funnily enough, the first example I personally thought of was Game of Thrones. Which is which? Are the Starks strategic and the Lannisters tactical or the other way around? Or perhaps both the Starks and Lannisters are strategic and it is those characters like Varys and Littlefinger that are tactical, “others” moving within a space not owned by them, and therefore the more dangerous? I think the latter.
This is also relating back to Weinberger. Could you argue that mass media is strategic and the consumer is tactical? Strategy is power — the authority. But our new modes of filtering forward lean more towards tactic. A shift in authority.
Dwelling, moving about, speaking, reading, shopping and cooking are activities that seem to correspond to the characteristics of tactical ruses and surprises: clever tricks of the “weak” within the order established by the “strong,” an art of putting one over on the adversary on his own turf.
Tactics are more frequently going off their tracks… Consumers are transformed into immigrants. The system in which they move about is too vast to be able to fix them in one place, but too constraining for them ever to be able to escape from it… There is no longer an elsewhere. Because of this, the “strategic” model is also transformed, as if defeated by its own success: it was by definition based on the definition of “proper” distinct from everything else; but now that “proper” has become the whole.
OK, I feel like we’ve come full circle. This is totally on the same track as Weinberger. Ackoff’s pyramid is like strategy, the authority. But with the change in the way consumers absorb information — tactically, filtering forward — the “proper” is now the whole pyramid and it’s not a pyramid anymore, as Adrian said in the lecture. There is no “top of the food chain.”
I wonder if this has made sense to anyone else.