Everyday life

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This article is about the concept of the person. For the rapcore band, see Every Day Life.
Children studying at school or at home
Watching TV

Everyday life or Daily life is a phrase used to refer to the ways in which an individual, group or society typically acts, thinks, and feels on a daily basis. The idea of involves the definition of the self, and how people conceptualize relationships to the world and others. It involves how people generate, establish, and interpret meaning. The concept of normality can be the sociological and psychological bases for behavioural choices, thoughts and beliefs.

Everyday life may be described as considered mundane, routine, natural or habitual.

Sociological perspectives[edit]

Everyday life is a key concept in cultural studies and is a specialized subject in the field of sociology. Though it has been a subject of vague debate and some theorists, notably Henri Lefebvre, argues that everyday life is a distinctively modern phenomenon that only emerged in the nineteenth century claiming that nineteenth century. The argument is that, motivated by capitalism and industrialism's degrading effects on human existence and perception, writers and artists of the 19th century turned more towards personal reflection and the portrayal of everyday life represented in their writings and art to a noticeably greater degree than in past works.[1] Though other theorists dispute this argument merely based on a long history of writings about daily life which can be seen in works from Ancient Greece, Medieval Christianity and the Catholic Enlightenment.[2][3]

In the study of everyday life gender has been an important factor in its conceptions. Some theorists regard women as the quintessential representatives and victims of everyday life.[2] The connotation of everyday life is often negative and is distinctively separated from exceptional moments by its lack of distinction and differentiation, ultimately defined as the essential, taken-for-granted continuum of mundane activity that outlines forays into more esoteric experiences. It is the non-negotiable reality that exists amongst all social groupings without discrimination and is an unavoidable basis for which all human endeavor exists.[1]

Much of everyday life is automatic in that it is driven by current environmental features as mediated by automatic cognitive processing of those features, and without any mediation by conscious choice, according to social psychologist John A. Bargh.[4] Daily life is also studied by sociologists to investigate how it is organised and given meaning. A sociological journal called the Journal of Mundane Behavior, published 2000 - 2004, studied these everyday actions.


Daily entertainment once consisted mainly of telling stories in the evening. This custom developed into the Theatre of ancient Greece and other professional entertainments. Reading later became less a mysterious specialty of scholars, and more a common pleasure for people who could afford books. During the 20th century mass media became prevalent in rich countries, creating among other things a prime time to consume fiction and other professionally produced works.

Different media forms serve different purposes in different individuals' everyday lives—which give people the opportunities to make strategic and rational choices about what media form(s)--watching television, using the Internet, listening to the radio, or reading newspapers or magazines—most effectively help them to accomplish their tasks.[5] Some people, however, increasingly use the Internet more often every day—and over all other media forms. Even though many people feared that the Internet would not allow people to sustain quality relationships or valuable interactions, increasing numbers of people now use the Internet (social media) as communication forms in their daily lives.[citation needed]


People's everyday lives are shaped through language and communication. They choose what to do with their time based on opinions and ideals formed through the discourse they are exposed to.[6] A lot of the dialogue people are subject to comes from the media, and is an important factor in what shapes human experience.[7] The media uses language to make an impact on one’s everyday life, whether that be as small as helping to decide where to eat or as big as choosing a representative in government.

To improve people's everyday life, Phaedra Pezzullo, professor in the Department of Communication and Culture at Indiana University Bloomington, says people should seek to understand the rhetoric that so often and unnoticeably changes their lives. She writes that “...rhetoric enables us to make connections... It's about understanding how we engage with the world.” In addition to this, 1+1=2.[8]


Activities of daily living is a term used in healthcare to refer to daily self care activities within an individual's place of residence, in outdoor environments, or both. Health professionals routinely refer to the ability or inability to perform ADLs as a measurement of the functional status of a person, particularly in regard to people with disabilities and the elderly.[9] ADLs are defined as "the things we normally do...such as feeding ourselves, bathing, dressing, grooming, work, homemaking, and leisure."[10] The ability and the extent to which the elderly can perform these activities is at the focus of gerontology and understandings of later life.[11] In an 'active society' which sees mobility as an important norm, constant physical activity has replaced the striving towards personal growth in later life.[12]

Active society and everyday life of the unemployed[edit]

Current beliefs in gerontology and the norm of active living lead to surveillance of everyday activities of the unemployed and their social networks by government agencies postulating a relevance of gerontological findings to the job market.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Felski, Rita (1999). The Invention of Everyday Life (PDF). London: Lawrence & Wishart. pp. 15–31. ISBN 9780853159018. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Lefebvre, Henri (1984). Everyday life in the modern world (New ... ed. ed.). New Brunswick, N.J., U.S.A.: Transaction Books. p. 38. ISBN 978-0878559725. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  3. ^ Coser, [edited by] Lewis A. (2012). The idea of social structure : papers in honor of Robert K. Merton. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers. ISBN 978-1412847414. 
  4. ^ Wyer/Bargh 1997, p. 2.
  5. ^ Baym, N. (2010), ‘Making New Media Make Sense’ in Personal Connections in the Digital Age, Polity Press, Ch. 2.
  6. ^ Roger Silverstone (1994), Television and Everyday Life, p. 18-19
  7. ^ Marie Gillepsie and Eugene McLaughlin (2008), Media and the Shaping of Public Attitudes, p. 8
  8. ^ Elizabeth Rosdeitcher (2006), The Rhetoric of Everyday Life
  9. ^ "Activities of Daily Living Evaluation." Encyclopedia of Nursing & Allied Health. ed. Kristine Krapp. Gale Group, Inc., 2002. eNotes.com. 2006.Enotes Nursing Encyclopedia Accessed on: 11 Oct, 2007
  10. ^ MedicineNet.com Medical Dictionary
  11. ^ Katz, Stephen. Busy bodies: Activities, aging, and the management of everyday life. - Journal of aging studies, Elsevier, 2000. p. 136.
  12. ^ Katz, Stephen. Busy bodies: Activities, aging, and the management of everyday life. - Journal of aging studies, Elsevier, 2000. p. 148.
  13. ^ Katz, Stephen. Busy bodies: Activities, aging, and the management of everyday life. - Journal of aging studies, Elsevier, 2000. p. 147.


Further reading[edit]