Mundane Studies

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Mundane Studies is a term used to describe the study of the events and systems that comprise the experiences of everyday life. Studying everyday life is important in a changing culture, especially one that is defined and recreated constantly by technology. As a participant in a rapidly changing culture, one becomes used to change. It is only by studying the everyday that one can understand how much things have changed from one year to the next. In addition, the mundanities of one culture can be extremely different from another culture. One can thus study the differences between one culture, demographic or totem group simply by charting out and comparing their everyday lives.

"In 2000, sociologist Wayne Brekhus published "A Mundane Manifesto," in which he "call(ed) for analytically interesting studies of the socially uninteresting." Brekhus continues, "I argue that the extraordinary draws disproportionate theoretical attention from researchers. This ultimately hinders theory development and distorts our picture of social reality. This manifesto paves the way for an explicit social science of the unmarked (mundane). It is hoped that a similar manifesto can be written for the humanities." Finally, he suggests that "although there are many deviance journals to explicitly analyze socially unusual behavior there is no Journal of Mundane Behavior to explicitly analyze conformity." Brekhus argues that the focus on the "extraordinary" shifts our focus away from the "ordinary" and, ultimately, blinds us to the immediacy of the here and now. Instead, he calls for an explicit turn to the immediate and the mundane" [1]

For more on Mundane Studies, see the Journal of Mundane Behavior[2]. The actual journal is preserved on[3]. An example paper on Mundane Studies is The Cappuccino Community: Cafés and Civic Life in the Contemporary City.[4] The Journal of Mundane Behavior was covered in an interesting article by the L.A. Times in 2001.[5]

Related Reading


  1. “Mundane SF 101,” SFRA Review 289 (Summer 2009): 13–16. Accessed Oct 2010.
  2. Journal of Mundane Behavior on Accessed Oct 2010.
  3. Journal of Mundane Behavior on
  4. Laurier, Eric and Chris Philo. The Cappuccino Community: Cafés and Civic Life in the Contemporary City. Department of Geography & Topographic Science, University of Glasgow G12 8QQ Scotland. Accessed Oct 2011.
  5. An Online Journal With Nothing Exciting to Report by Scott Martelle. L.A. Times, October 12, 2001. Accessed Oct 2011.