The Society of the Spectacle


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Guy Debord (1931-1994) was a Marxist theorist, writer, poet, filmmaker, hypergraphist, cultural revolutionary and a founding member of the Lettrist International and Situationist International - groups that fused avant-garde art and politics as an anti-capitalist weapon. Few works of political and cultural theory have been as enduringly provocative as Debord's Society of the Spectacle, which decisively transformed debates on the shape of modernity, capitalism and contemporary life. Fredy Perlman (1934-1985) was an American author, publisher, professor, and activist. His most popular work, the book Against His-Story, Against Leviathan!, details the rise of state domination with a retelling of history through the Hobbesian metaphor of the Leviathan. Though Perlman detested ideology and claimed that the only -ist he would respond to was cellist, his work as an author and publisher has been influential on modern anarchist thought. Ken Knabb is an American writer, translator, and radical theorist, known for his translations of Guy Debord and the Situationist International.


'The Debordian analysis of modern life resonates more deeply and darkly than perhaps even its creator thought possible...' - The New Yorker
'Never before has Debord's work seemed quite as relevant as it does now' - The Guardian
'Guy Debord is a time bomb, and a difficult one to defuse.' - Michael Loewy'In Society of the Spectacle, Debord sets out his best-known statement of how the categories of capitalism colonise everyday life to such an extent that we can barely imagine an existence beyond them.' - Sydney Review of Books'The Society of the Spectacle [is] about not just the clamor of images but also the silence of power, a silence which, since the seventies, has become deafening.' - McKenzie Wark'Never before has Debord's work seemed quite as relevant as it does now, in the permanent present that he so accurately foretold? Open his book, read it, be amazed, pour yourself a glass of supermarket wine - as he would wish - and then forget all about it, which is what the Spectacle wants.' - Will Self'In The Society of the Spectacle, Debord made plain that a 'unified critique of culture' implied a critique of the social totality. This was his practico-theoretical method throughout his career as a revolutionary: he saw no distinction between cultural work and political work.' - Bruce Russell'I read [The Society of the Spectacle] again and I thought, "This is a fucking amazing book!" I had forgotten how terrific it was, and it was actually quite different to how I remembered it. I insist that the key chapter is not the first one, on the spectacle itself, but the second to last - the chapter on detournement. To me, that concept is the great gift of the Situationists. [They] realized that one can exploit this critically - one can copy and correct in the direction of hope.' - Los Angeles Review of Books

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