Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

The Certeau Reader

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

The Certeau Reader

Article excerpt

The Certeau Reader. Edited by Graham Ward. Oxford/Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers, 2000. xii + 247 pp. $64.95 (cloth); $29.95 (paper).

Michel de Certeau-grounded in theology, knowledgeable concerning the challenges of contemporary spirituality, adept in exegesis, and engaged in a multidisciplinary project that sets out a ground for social ethics within complex societies-should fascinate those committed to the theological and religious disciplines as well as those engaged in ecclesial organizations. However, because his ambitious project was incomplete at the time of his death and because the disciplines he called upon in order to set out the trajectory of his comprehensive exploration are so varied, readers who have attempted to make use of de Certeau's extensive writings may have found themselves amazed or stunned by the range of the work. Ward's anthology offers a welcome sampling of de Certeau's work and maps its reach in interrelated sections concerning historiography, cultural politics, social practice, communicative expression, and theology.

That his project remains incomplete may be turned to advantage by tracking its trajectory as presented by several de Certeau scholars through brief introductions. These commentators address the rich de Certeau articles offered in the respective sections. Particularly useful is Conley's delineation of the character of traces and inventive activity which de Certeau reads as urban texts. Buchanan offers a stimulating chart of de Certeau's wide-ranging cultural endeavor. Then, too, Ahearne's lucid analysis of de Certeau's use of "economy" and his set-up of how to read the imbrication of writing and orality sketches a fertile way through the three pieces in that section.

Some of the collaborators in the anthology express their awarenessand chagrin-that several sectors of de Certeau's oeuvre go unrepresented in this text. For example, Girard (p. 22, n. 9) comments on the absence of his writing about Freud. …

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