Bricolage

DUSTIN GARLITZ

University of South Florida, US

DOI: 10.1002/9781118989463.wbeccs032

Bricolage is a type of construction achieved by using whatever materials are at hand, or the act of creating something from a diverse range of available materials. More generally, bricolage essentially stands for do-it-yourself, and in the field of contemporary consumer studies it can be thought of as a theoretical foundation of do-it-yourself (DIY) culture. The individual who practices bricolage is known as a bricoleur, and is regarded as a sort of Jack-of-all-trades.

In his 1962 book La Pensée sauvage, translated into English and published in 1966 as The Savage Mind, structural anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss introduced the cultural concept of bricolage, which was originally intended to intellectually characterize mythical thought. In a translator's note in The Savage Mind, the individual who practices bricolage, the bricoleur, is described as someone “who undertakes odd jobs and is a Jack-of-all-trades, or a kind of professional do-it-yourself man” (Lévi-Strauss 1966/1962, 17). In his 1966 essay “Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences,” philosopher Jacques Derrida (1978/1966) critiqued Lévi-Strauss's concept of bricolage and its bricoleur, developing his own semiotic theory of deconstruction in the process, as he also did in his 1967 work Of Grammatology (Derrida 1998/1967). Philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari incorporated the notion of bricolage ...

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