De Certeau and “Making Do”: The Case of Gay Men and Lesbians on a Jesuit Campus

David Gudelunas

in Jesuit and Feminist Education

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780823233311
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823241743 | DOI:
De Certeau and “Making Do”: The Case of Gay Men and Lesbians on a Jesuit Campus

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This chapter reflects on the writings of French Jesuit scholar Michel de Certeau, an extremely influential cultural anthropologist of the twentieth century, whose dense and fascinating writings shed light on what more modern scholars might simply label “coping strategies.” Central in de Certeau's work is his discussion of “strategies” and “tactics,” whereby he links strategies with institutions and structures of power, while tactics are utilized by individuals to create space for themselves in environments defined by strategies. The chapter explores the relevance of this theoretical framework of “everyday life” to understanding the contemporary position of feminists as well as gay men and lesbians who are creating space for their own communities within the structure of a Jesuit university. In particular, it explores how one group of students at a Jesuit university created a policy report as a tactical measure to document and make recommendations on how to best make life for gay men and lesbians on a Jesuit campus more welcoming.

Keywords: Michel de Certeau; coping strategies; gay men; lesbians; feminists; Jesuit university

Chapter.  4066 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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