This volume brings together, for the first time, a variety of texts from Certeau's book and journal publications which have proved important in the various disciplines where Certeau has had an influence. The Reader as a whole reflects the interdisciplinary nature of Certeau's work which draws on history, historiography, psychology, politics, philosophy, semiotics, ethnography, and theology to shape a critique of cultures past and present. Some essays have been translated especially for this collection. All of them have been chosen to provide accessible texts suited for introducing readers to the work of this key twentieth-century thinker. Five specific areas are considered: history, sociology, politics, cultural and religious studies, and five leading scholars, each of whom employ Certeau's work in these distinct disciplines, introduce the sections.
An introduction by Graham Ward outlines Certeau's biography and places his work within the cultural context of his time, both in terms of French Catholicism and contemporary intellectual debates. It examines the major preoccupations of Certeau's work - with the Other, with spatiality, with colonialism, with the body, with discourse and oppression - and locates them within the overall development of his thinking. Finally, Ward discusses the impact of Certeau's work and comments on the current rediscovery of his potential.show more