The Media, Politics and Public Life

By Geoffrey Craig | Go to book overview

10
The governance of
everyday life

At first glance, everyday life is separate from the domain of public life. Everyday life occurs in the private sphere, removed from public scrutiny. It is constituted through our work, through our family life, through our leisure activities. Our work and our leisure activities can of course occur ‘in public’, but these activities are not deemed to be part of public life; our everyday individual practices and behaviours are not subject to a generalised scrutiny. Everyday life is difficult to define: it consists of a complex and often disparate array of relationships, practices and behaviours that are collected together only because they inform our everyday existence. In this sense, it is perhaps best defined through particular spatial and temporal contexts. Paradoxically, everyday life is highly individualised and amorphous, and as such is ‘unknowable’ in any total sense, and yet it also suggests activities that are shared and are uniformly recognised and understood by a large number of people. Understood in this latter sense, everyday life is a profoundly social phenomenon.


Theorisations of everyday life

The value of everyday life has been subject to extraordinarily diverse appraisals. In his well-known and influential study, Henri Lefebvre (1984) differentiates between the ‘everyday’, as the space and condition in which authentic and vital existence occurs, and ‘everyday life’, which

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