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The Society Of The Spectacle :: The Progressive Torrents Community
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The Society Of The Spectacle


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701.08 MB

Date/time added:

2008-11-10 09:31:58

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Guy Debords best known works are his theoretical books, Society of
the Spectacle and Comments on the Society of the Spectacle. In
addition to these he wrote a number of autobiographical books
including "Mémoires", "Panégyrique", "Cette Mauvaise Réputation..."
and "Considérations sur lassassinat de Gérard Lebovici". He was also
the author of numerous short pieces, sometimes anonymous, for the
journals "Potlatch", "Les Lèvres Nues," "Les Chats Sont Verts," and
"Internationale Situationniste".
In broad terms, Debords theories attempted to account for the
spiritually debilitating modernisation of both the private and public
spheres of everyday life by economic forces during the post-WW2
modernisation of Europe. He rejected as the twin faces of the same
problem both capitalism of the West and the statism of the Eastern
bloc. Alienation, Debord postulated, could be accounted for by the
invasive forces of the spectacle - "a social relation between people
that is mediated by images". Debords analysis developed the notions
of "reification" and "fetishism of the commodity" pioneered by Karl
Marx and Georg Lukács. This analysis probed the historical, economic
and psychological roots of the media. Central to this school of
thought was the claim that alienation is more than an emotive
description or an aspect of individual psychology: rather, it is a
consequence of the mercantile form of social organization which has
reached its climax in capitalism.
The Situationist International, a political/artistic movement
organized by Debord and his colleagues and represented by a journal of
the same name, attempted to create a series of strategies for engaging
in class struggle by reclaiming individual autonomy from the
spectacle. These strategies, including "dérive" and "détournement",
drew on the traditions of Dada and Surrealism.
The SI initially drew membership from the Lettrists - a
post-Surrealist group of writers and poets dedicated to the
destruction of bourgeois values by reducing the written word to
onomatopoeic syllables. However, the SI broke with the formal aims of
the Lettrists and, after subsuming much of their membership, were
fully established in their own right by 1959. After an intense period
of theoretical analysis, publication and the expulsion of most of its
few members, the SI dissolved itself in 1972.
Debords first book, Memoires, was bound with a sandpaper cover so
that it would destroy other books placed next to it.
Debord has been the subject of numerous biographies, works of fiction,
artworks and songs, many of which are catalogued in the bibliography
by Shigenobu Gonzalves, "Guy Debord ou la Beaute du Negatif".

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