The Geography of the Everyday
Toward an Understanding of the Given
University of Georgia Press 2017
How to theorize what goes without saying? In The Geography of the Everyday: Toward an Understanding of the Given (University of Georgia Press, 2017), Rob Sullivan develops a general theory of everydayness as the necessary, if elusive, starting point for social and spatial theorists across disciplines. Proceeding in stepwise fashion, Sullivan builds an account of this concept that scopes over space, place, history, time itself, social and biological reproduction, embodiment, the object world, and the neural and perceptual dimensions of experience, folding high-level theorizing together with an eclectic range of empirical engagements. The book generously synthesizes insights from Erving Goffman, Michel Foucault, Michel de Certeau, Henri Lefebvre, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Karl Marx, Torsten Hägerstrand, Jane Bennett, and other thinkers on or just off the map of critical geography today. It is an ambitious but conversational text, a committed work of exposition that might dovetail with many a seminar in geographic thought. As Sullivan sees it, materializing our own entwinement with the environment — accepting the complexity of “The TimeSpacePlace Thing” — just might incline future geographers to a richer, more affirmative sense of ethics and politics beyond the hermetic models of selfhood that, on his reading, still have wide appeal, even in an age when the costs of anthropocentrism seem all the more immediate.
Peter Ekman teaches in the departments of geography at Sonoma State University and the University of California, Berkeley. He received the Ph.D. from Berkeley in 2016, and is at work on two book projects on the cultural and historical geography of urban America across the long twentieth century. He can be reached at [email protected].