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Workshop Ordinary Life in Philosophy and Anthropology

Ordinary Life in Philosophy and Anthropology

Theories, Practices, Methods

June, 16 & 17 2022

Paris, College of France

“Anthropology of life” team 

Social Anthropology Laboratory, College de France, PSL University

Sorbonne Institute of Legal and Philosophical Sciences (CNRS Paris 1)


Lauren Kamili (EHESS)

 Sandra Laugier (Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne)

Perig Pitrou (CNRS-Collège de France PSL University)

Lotte Segal (Edinburgh University)


In this workshop we will examine the methodological and conceptual implications of thinking with notions of ordinary life across philosophy, anthropology and kinned disciplines. We would like to detail what it means to attend to ordinary life, in theory and practice, and discuss how we as researchers might know what falls within the so-called ordinary for the people we do research with. What methodological approaches can be used to provide descriptions that are both subjective and objective? How can we articulate the ethnographic and philosophical exploration of individual and collective existence, in its most everyday, “infra-ordinary” (Perec) aspects, with the recognition of the lived experience of those who face extraordinary situations that endanger human life? 

In addition to the methodological issues, these questions raise epistemological problems. While it would be tempting to consider in a metaphorical sense expressions such as “ordinary life”, “every day” or “form of life” – as if the word “life” were only a synonym for “existence”–, we wish to also examines the relevance of considering life, literally, as a biological process which is entangled with words, rules and meanings. Whether it is a question of identifying phenomena of routine and habit or of acknowledging the experience of trauma and violence that endangers physical and psychological integrity, this workshop invites ways anchored in ordinary life as a way in which to study the bodily, psychological and sociological dynamics that shape human lives, at the intersection between the biographical and the biological, the individual and the collective, the describable and the unspeakable. 

Thursday 16th

 Seminar room, College de France, 3 rue d'Ulm, Paris 5th

1:00 p.m. Presentation of the workshop by the organizers

1:15 p.m. Opening of the Students Workshop organized by Lauren Kamili (EHESS/ADEME)

1:30 p.m. Student presentations 1 “Reading and Writing Ordinary Life”

With Camille Braune (University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne), Antoine Cailloce (University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne), Eszter Horvàth (EHESS and Eötvös Lorànd University, Budapest), Florian Meier (EHESS)

2:45 p.m. Break

3:00 p.m. Student presentations 2 “Times and Spaces of Ordinary Life”

With Élise Boutié (EHESS), Noëlle Counord (EHESS), Daniela Jacob (EHESS Marseille)

4:00 p.m. Break

4:30 p.m. Student presentations 3 “Body, Health, Food”

With Simon Gérard (EHESS), Nan Nan (EHESS), Gabriel G. Roman (ULB-EHESS)

5:30 p.m. Break

5:45 p.m. Keynote: Clara Han (Johns Hopkins University)

Friday 17

Room 2, College de France, 12 place Marcelin Berthelot, Paris 5th 

10:00 a.m. Round-Table 1 “What is the Life of Ordinary Life?”

Moderated by Perig Pitrou (CNRS-Collège de France Université PSL), with Estelle Ferrarese (Université Picardie Jules Verne), Paola Marrati (Johns Hopkins University)

11:15 a.m. Break

11:30 a.m. Round-Table 2 “Violence between The Ordinary and The Extraordinary”

Moderated by Lotte Segal (Edinburgh University), with Adèle Blazquez (CNRS), Marie Lecomte-Tilouine (CNRS-Collège de France Université PSL), Richard Rechtman (EHESS)

12:45 p.m. Lunch (Lunch Seminar room => registration is mandatory:

2:30 p.m. Round-Table 3 “To count and to tell: Descriptions of the Ordinary”

Moderated by Sandra Laugier (University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne), with Piergiorgio Donatelli (Sapienza University, Roma), Edward Guetti (Universität Leipzig)

3:45 p.m. Concluding remarks by Veena Das (Johns Hopkins University)

For more information, please contact Lauren Kamili: