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Everyday Life

The Everyday In Academic Discourse

It was only in the first half of the twentieth century, however, that the everyday became academically respectable across a whole range of disciplines. Freud was well aware of the value of studying everyday events such as lapses of memory or slips of the tongue as evidence of an individual's psychological The Peasant's Meal (1642) by Louis Le Nain. Oil on canvas. Works of art depicting everyday habits are often open to interpretation, as some critics see in them a deeper moral or mysterious subtext, while other simply see an attempt at realism. LOUVRE, PARIS, FRANCE. LAUROS/GIRAUDON/THE BRIDGEMAN ART LIBRARY, WWW.BRIDGEMAN.CO.UK states. Franz Boas, one of the founders of the discipline of anthropology in the United States, argued in Race, Language and Culture that "To the ethnologist, the most trifling details of social life are important."

In sociology Max Weber launched the idea of Veralltäglichung, a term normally translated as "routinization," though "quotidianization" might be nearer the mark. Norbert Elias followed the lead of Max Weber in his historical sociology, famously describing the details of changes in table manners, for instance, as a means to arrive at a grand interpretation of what he called "the civilizing process." Forty years later, Elias would offer one of the most incisive critiques of the ambiguities of the concept "everyday," noting the confusion between everyday life and ordinary people and between working days and festivals. Aimed at a more general public was the successful series on the history of everyday life launched by the French publisher Hachette in 1938 (Histoire de la vie quotidienne). The volume on the everyday life of ancient Rome by Jérôme Carcopino became a classic and the series eventually included nearly 250 volumes.

The phenomenologist Edmund Husserl has been described as giving the everyday world, the Lebenswelt, "philosophical dignity," and a similar comment might be made about the British philosophers who saw their task as unravelling the implications of ordinary language. As a means of underlining the traditional division between art and life, artists such as Marcel Duchamp became interested in ordinary objects (objets trouvés), while composers like John Gage introduced ordinary sounds into their music.

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Ephemeris to Evolution - Historical BackgroundEveryday Life - Everyday Antiquities, The Everyday In Academic Discourse, The Discovery Of The Everyday, The History Of The Everyday