Guy Debord's 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 l'assassinat 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, Debord's 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". Debord's 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.
Debord's 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".
Sep 19, 2007, 06:44:19
Number of files