The Politics and Poetics of Everyday Life
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320 pages / May 2023 / 9781839768316
May 2023 / 9781839768330

Using the concept of the everyday as a lever for social transformation

The texts in this volume represent Kristin Ross’s attempt to think the question of the everyday across a range of discourses, practices and knowledges, from philosophy to history, from the visual arts to popular fiction, all the way to the forms taken by collective political action in the territorial struggles of today. If everyday life is, as many have come to believe, the ideal vantage point for an analysis of the social, it is also the crucial first step in its transformation.

The volume opens with a return to Henri Lefebvre’s powerful attempt to think the everyday as both residue and resource, as the site of profound alienation and—by the same token—the site where all emancipatory initiatives and desires begin. The second section focuses on our attempts to represent our lived reality to ourselves in cultural forms, from painting and literature and film to an analysis of the contemporary transformations of the sub-genre most embedded in the deep superficiality of everyday life: detective fiction. The final section turns to present-day ecological occupations in the wake of the zad at Notre-Dame-des-Landes, and locates the everyday as a site for rich oppositional resources and immanent social creativity.


“In these remarkably lucid essays, real critics, rebellious farmers, artisans, and diverse character-types are summoned to remind us of moments of conformist immobility, disavowals of colonialism, violence and class difference; but also, of how French cultural history offers paths toward public beauty, collectivity, ecological ways of living. Ross has an uncanny ability to zero in on what matters in the forms of the Paris Commune and beyond, letting participants speak without the usual virtue-signaling.”

“This volume recalls why Kristin Ross's work is a necessary point of entry into the infinite insurrection of everyday life envisaged by Karl Marx and Henri Lefebvre, Arthur Rimbaud and Jacques Ranciere, variously enacted from the Commune to May 68, and that animates the rural radicalism of today's Zad. Anyone interested in altering the questions of our day towards a new everyday life will find here an abundant reservoir to think and do anew.”

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