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Essay sample - cultural studies
Pages 2 (502 words)
De Certeau, in his essay ‘Walking in the City’, introduces New York City as seen from the top of the World Trade Center and formulates some abstract general theories to understand everyday life in the city.  The writer believes that one needs to get down to the street to…
This experience is diametrically opposite to the experience of the ‘academics’. The pedestrians make use of the spaces that cannot be seen by the visionary. As opposed to the visionary, the pedestrians do not have a single map or a picture of a city, but a series of migrational metaphors which always undergoes alterations. . The author seems to mean that experiencing something is more meaningful than visualizing something.
The understanding of the people is managed by speculative and classificatory operations which are always liable to contradictions when they encounter the social extremes. The people who actually walk and live in the city will not agree with the concept of the decaying city.  Walking in the city can never be captured objectively by drawing maps because the experience of walking is very much subjective. The writer also speaks about the rhetoric of walking where the walkers unconsciously produce sentences using a series of signifiers that only experience can provide. The signifiers used by planners will be taken over by these walkers. Traveling can replace the lost legends, which once offered a series of ‘habitual spaces’. Walking is compared to a story that violates traditional notions and extends to the reality of human experience.
Edward Said begins the essay by referring to a French Journalist’s comment about East as “the Orient” (P.1), which purports three independent things: First, an academic discipline; then, the “ontological and epistemological distinction” between occidental Vs. oriental; and finally, a historically defined phenomenon, where orientalism is a device of dominance (P.2). He further dwells on the Franco-British as well as American involvement in developing the concept of orientalism.
Said thinks that both oriental and occidental are not real but fictitious creations, and are interdependent. He examines this interdependency in three ...
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