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Debord - Society of the Spectacle - Chapter I and II

Debord - Society of the Spectacle - Chapter I and II

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Published by: Mutability on Mar 27, 2012
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~8\1
authorisedIranslationbyKEnKnabb:11::IIII;lII,llall:llllIl:SiluationisllnlErnali~nalAnthologyandGuyDebn/d'sCompleteCinemali~Works,HisOWIII'lrilingsarcavailableinthehookPubli~SE~reISandonlineatl'AVW,boDsccrels,oIQGlaphlCd8signbyNillaWestinRebelPress,
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WhilcchapelHighStreet.London
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GUYDEBORD
SOCIETYOFTHESPECTACLE
\
RebelPress
i_~
 
CONTENTSTheCulminationofSeparation
[paragraphs1-34J
6
IITlteCommodityasSpectacle
[35-53)
18IIIUnityandDivisionWithinAppearance[54-72)
26
IVTheProletariatasSubjectandRepresentation
[73-1241
36
VTimeandHistory
[125-146J
72
VISpectaculartime
[147-164J
86VIITerritorialDomination
[165-179J
93VIIINegationandConsumptionWithinCulture
[180-211J
100IX
Ideolouy
Materialised
[212-2211
115TRANSLATOR'SNOTE
TherehavebeenseveralpreviousEnglishtranslationsof
TheSocietyoftheSpectacle.
I
havegonethroughthemallandhaveretainedwhateverseemedalreadytobeadequate.Inparticu-lar,IhaveadoptedquiteafewofDonaldNicholson-Smith'srenderings,thoughIhavedivergedfromhiminmanyother\cases.Histranslation(ZoneBooks,1994)andtheearlieronebyFredyPerlmanandJohnSupak(BlackandRed,1977)arebothinprint,andbothcanalsobefoundatthe
SituationistInternationalOnline
website.IbelievethatmytranslationconveysDebord'sactualmean-ingmoreaccurately,aswellasmoreclearlyandidiomatical-ly,thananyoftheotherversions.Iamneverthelessawarethatitisfarfromperfect,andwelcomeanycriticismsorsug-gestions.Ifyoufindtheopeningchapterstoodifficult,youmighttrystartingwithChapter4orChapter
5.
AsyouseehowDeborddealswithconcretehistoricalevents,youmaygetabetterideaofthepracticalimplicationsofideasthatarepresentedmoreabstractlyintheotherchapters.Thebookisnot,however,asdifficultorabstractasitisreputedtobe.Itisnotanivory-toweracademicorphilo-sophicaldiscourse.Itisanefforttoclarifythenatureofthesocietyinwhichwefindourselvesand'theadvantagesand'drawbacksofvariousmethodsforchangingit.EverySinglethesishasadirectorindirectbearingonissuesthataremattersoflifeanddeath,Chapter4,whichwithremarkableconcisenesssumsupthelessonsoftwocenturiesofrevolu-tionaryexperience,issimplythemostobviousexample.
KenKnabb
 
I
TheCulminationofSeparation
"Butforthepresentage,whic:hprefersthesigntothethinqsignified,thecopytotheoriginal,representationtoreality,appearancetoessence...truthisconsidered
profane,
andonly
illusion
is
sacred.
Sacrednessisinfactheldtobeenhancedinproportionastruthdecreasesandillusionincreases,sothatthehighestdegreeofillusioncomestobethehighestdegreeofsacredness."
feuerbach
I
PrefacetothesecondeditionolTheEssenceofChristianity
1
INSOCIETIES
dominatedbymodernconditionsofpro-duction,lifeispresentedasanimmenseaccumulationof
spectacles.
Everythingthatwasdirectlylivedhasrecededintoarepresentation.
2.
THEIMAGES
detachedfromeveryaspectoflifemergeintoacommonstreaminwhichtheunityofthatlifecannolongerberecovered.
Fragmented
viewsofrealityregroupthemselvesintoanewunityasa
separatepseudo-world
thatcanonlybelookedat.Thespecializationofimagesoftheworldevolvesintoaworldofautonomisedimageswhereeventhedeceiversaredeceived.Thespectacleisaconcreteinversionoflife,anautonomousmovementofthenonliving.
3
THE
SP
E
CTACLE
presentsitselfsimultaneouslyassocietyitself,asapartofsociety,andasa
meansofunification.
Asapartofsociety,itisthefocalpointofallvisionandallcon-sciousness.Butduetotheveryfactthatthissectoris
separate,
itisinrealitythedomainofdelusionandfalseconscious-ness:theunificationitachievesisnothingbutanofficiallan-guageofuniversalseparation.
4
THE
SP
E
C
T
AC
LEisnotacollectionofimages;itisasocialrelationbetweenpeoplethatismediatedbyimages.
5
THE
SP
E
CTACLE
cannotbeunderstoodasamerevisualde-ceptionproducedbymass-mediatechnologies.Itisaworld-viewthathasactuallybeenmaterialised,aviewofaworldthathasbecomeobjective.
7

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