Ordinary Life in Philosophy and Anthropology

Theories, Practices, Methods

June, 16 & 17 2022
Paris, Collège de France
Équipe “Anthropologie de la vie”

Laboratoire d’anthropologie sociale, Collège de France, Université PSL
Institut des sciences juridique et philosophique de la Sorbonne (CNRS Paris 1)


Lauren Kamili (EHESS)

Sandra Laugier (Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne)

Perig Pitrou (CNRS-Collège de France Université PSL)

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 examine also 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

Salle de séminaire, Collège de France, 3 rue d’Ulm, Paris 5e

13h00 Presentation of the workshop by the organizers
13h15 Opening of the Students Workshop organized by Lauren Kamili
13h30 Student presentations 1 “Reading and Writing Ordinary Life”
With Camille Braune (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne), Antoine Cailloce
(Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne), Eszter Horvàth (EHESS et Eötvös
Lorànd University, Budapest), Florian Meier (EHESS)
14h45 Break
15h00 Student presentations 2 “Time and Spaces of Ordinary Life”
With Élise Boutié (EHESS), Noëlle Counord (EHESS), Daniela Jacob (EHESS
16h00 Break
16h30 Student presentations 3 “Body, Health, Food”
With Simon Gérard (EHESS), Nan Nan (EHESS), Gabriel G. Roman (ULB-
17h30 Break
17h45 Keynote: Clara Han (Johns Hopkins University)

Friday 17

Salle 2, Collège de France, 12 place Marcelin Berthelot, Paris 5e
10h00 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)
11h15 Break

11h30 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)
12h45 Lunch (Lunch Seminar room => registration is mandatory:
14h30 Round-Table 3 “To count and to tell: Descriptions of the Ordinary”
Moderated by Sandra Laugier (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne), with
Piergiorgio Donatelli (Sapienza University, Roma), Edward Guetti (Universität
15h45 Concluding remarks by Veena Das (Johns Hopkins University)

For more information, please contact Lauren Kamili: