Society of the Spectacle
Few works of political and cultural theory have been as enduringly provocative as Guy Debord's The Society of the Spectacle. From its publication amid the social upheavals of the 1960s up to the present, the volatile theses of this book have decisively transformed debates on the shape of modernity, capitalism and everyday life in the late twentieth century. Now finally ava...more
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What is the spectacle, then? Debord has a great way of summarizing it: the colonization of human life by commodities. It's ...more
In any expository writing, particularly when persuasion is the goal, the writing should be as clear as possible to reach the widest audience.
This essay is laid out in numbered statements. Some are only a sentence long, others may run a page or two, but all are written in a style that tells me the author is more concerned with his style than the content. Perhaps this is the thing to do in intellectual circles, where stylish profundity that requires effort to decode is val ...more
• It is a very direct translation from the original French text.
• The Situations had developed their own vocabulary to describe what were then new and unidentified sociological phenomena (we now have a different lexicon to describe this more widely acknowledged phenomena today.)
• Debord, in this book, practices what he preached with the Situationists in his use of detournment (the reuse of elements of well-known media to create a new work w ...more
The theater is built in front us and we are lead to believe that we actually participate in its adventure. As Johnny Rotten said at the last Sex Pistols concert in the late 70's "Have you ever felt the feeling that you have been had?" Wel ...more
In this beautifully written essay, poetic and conceptually rigorous at a time, French theorist Guy Debord demonstrates how and why economy has autonomously generated a dimension parallel to reality (the Spectacle) ...more
The thing is Chomsky wouldn't recommend it.
Many of us are well-aware of Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman and the Propaganda Model presented in Manufacturing Consent, of how the media is pure propaganda. But the idea of 'spectacle' being something part of our daily lives, not just in the media, of our consumer society as one of consumin ...more
20. ...the absolute denial of life, in the shape of a fallacious paradise, is no longer projected onto the heavens, but finds its place instead within material life itself. the spectacle is hence a technological version of the exiling of human powers in a "world beyond" - and the perfection of separation within human beings.
67. ...a use of the commodity arises that is sufficient unto itself; what this means for ...more
Interesting for the historical context, but nothing more really. A redundant midway point between Marx and Baudrillard, in which the former's ideas are obfuscated for the purposes of pretension. Though I imagine translation is partly to blame for that. Its ...more
The spectacle is the moment when the commodity has attained the total occupation of social life. Not only is the relation to the commodity visible but it is all one sees: the world one sees is its world. Modern economic production extends its dictatorship extensively and intensively. In the least industrialized places, its reign is already attested by a few star commodities and by the imperialist domination imposed by regions which are ahead in the development of productivity. In the advanced ...more
A new project is underway. The spectacle! The spectacle supported by capitalism tends to overwrite our own history and place new foundations. That is shocking. Ultimately the message is that the s ...more
I hope to compose a proper review in time - once I am not about to get on a plane and travel to some other voidal non-situation mediated and formulated by a variety of spectacluar fictions.
This book describes the problem : defined as The Spectacle. But how many of us dare to challenge the hegemony of the image obsessed society we have created? Debord wrote this tract in the sixties before the consumer society really took off. It was a prophetic warning.
Ask yourself this : aren't we all guilty of creating this monster? And how are we going to stop it?
The truth is in this book. Read it and weep. ...more