Interpretation and Its Other
Since his death in 1986, Michel de Certeau's reputation as a
thinker has steadily grown both in France and throughout the
English-speaking world. His work is extraordinarily innovative and
wide-ranging, cutting across issues in historiography, literary and
cultural studies, anthropology, sociology, theology, philosophy and
This book represents the first full-length study of Certeau's
thought. It is organized around the central theme of interpretation
and alterity, which Ahearne uses to illuminate Certeau's work as a
whole. The author also examines Certeau's theory and practice of
historiography; his reflection on the relations between changing
historical forms of writing, reading and orality; and his
distinction between the "strategic" programmes of the politically
powerful and the "tactics" of the relatively powerless.
Ahearne places Certeau's work in its general intellectual
context, relating it to the views of important contemporary
thinkers, such as Pierre Bourdieu and Michel Foucault, and
demonstrating the decisive importance to Certeau's thought of the
writings of the early modern mystics and travellers.
This book constitutes an excellent critical introduction to
Certeau's work, while also providing a comprehensive and nuanced
reading for those already familiar with his thought.