Walking

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A comparison with the speech act will allow us to go further and not limit ourselves to the critique of graphic representations alone, looking from the shores of legibility toward an inaccessible beyond. The act of walking is to the urban system what the speech act is to language or to the statements uttered. At the most elementary level, it has a triple “enunciative” function: it is a process of appropriation of the topo­graphical system on the part of the pedestrian (just as the speaker appropriates and takes on the language); it is a spatial acting-out of the place (just as the speech act is an acoustic acting-out of language); and it implies relations among differentiated positions, that is, among prag­matic “contracts” in the form of movements (just as verbal enunciation is an “allocution,” “posits another opposite” the speaker and puts con­ tracts between interlocutors into action).  It thus seems possible to give a preliminary definition of walking as a space of enunciation. (…) The modalities of pedestrian enunciation which a plane representation on a map brings out could be analyzed. (…) Walking affirms, suspects, tries out, transgresses, respects, etc., the trajectories it “speaks.”

Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life (1980)

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Walking

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