Michel de Certeau (Chambéry, 17 May 1925 – Paris, 9 January 1986) was a French Jesuit and scholar whose work combined history, psychoanalysis, philosophy, and the social sciences.

Michel de Certeau was born in 1925 in Chambéry, Savoie. Certeau's education was eclectic, following the medieval tradition of peregrinatio academica. After obtaining degrees in classics and philosophy at the universities of Grenoble, Lyon, he studied the works of Pierre Favre (1506-1546) at the École pratique des hautes études (Paris) with Jean Orcibal. He undertook religious training at a seminary in Lyon, where he entered the Jesuit order (Society of Jesus) in 1950 and was ordained in 1956. Certeau entered the Society of Jesus hoping to do missionary work in China. In the year of his ordination, Certeau became one of the founders of the journal Christus, with which he would actively be involved for much of his life. In 1960 he earned his doctorate ("thèse de 3e Cycle") at the Sorbonne with a study of co-founder of the Society of Jesus Pierre Favre (the Sorbonne is a secular state university where theology may not be taught) before embarking on his celebrated study of Jean-Joseph Surin.

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Michel de Certeau Poems

Michel de Certeau Quotes

Political organizations have slowly substituted themselves for the Churches as the places for believing practices.... Politics has once again become religious.
Michel de Certeau (1925-1986), French cultural theorist, critic. "An Archaeology: The Transits of Believing," ch. 13, The Practice of Everyday Life (1974).
Along with the lazy man ... the dying man is the immoral man: the former, a subject that does not work; the latter, an object that no longer even makes itself available to be worked on by others.
Michel de Certeau (1925-1986), French author and critic. "An Unthinkable Practice," ch. 14, The Practice of Everyday Life (1974).
The sick man is taken away by the institution that takes charge not of the individual, but of his illness, an isolated object transformed or eliminated by technicians devoted to the defense of health the way others are attached to the defense of law and order or tidiness.
Michel de Certeau (1925-1986), French author, critic. "An Unthinkable Practice," ch. 14, The Practice of Everyday Life (1974).

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