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Practice As Resistance: Michel De Certeau

Influenced by the work of Foucault and Bourdieu, Michel de Certeau's main contribution to practice theory has been to posit practice as the ground of resistance to domination (in addition to the reproduction of power relations). De Certeau distinguishes between two types of practice: strategies and tactics. Strategies are only available to subjects of "will and power," so defined because of their access to a spatial or institutional location that allows them to objectify the rest of the social environment. "A strategy assumes a place that can be circumscribed as a proper (propre) and thus serve as a basis for generating relations with an exterior distinct from it (competitors, adversaries, "clienteles," "targets," or "objects of research)" (1984, p. xix). Strategies thus invoke and actualize a schematic and stratified ordering of social reality.

Other people, however, though lacking a space of their own from which to apply strategies, are not merely passive objects of such subjects. On the contrary, they are active agents, but their mode of practice is tactical rather than strategic. Everyday practices of consumption (including activities like walking or reading) are tactical in that they continuously re-signify and disrupt the schematic ordering of reality produced through the strategic practices of the powerful. The possibility of contestation of the social order, which is created through multiple strategies, is always implicit in the tactical practices of everyday life.

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Positive Number to Propaganda - World War IiPractices - Practice Theory, Practice And Discourse: Michel Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu And Anthony Giddens, Practice As Resistance: Michel De Certeau