Society of the Spectacle – Guy Debord
Guy Debord is a French philosopher, filmmaker, and author who died at the end of the 20th century. Debord is perhaps best known for his theory on a society of spectacle, “a social relation between people that is mediated by images.”
Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt, in their book ‘Empire’, describe Debord’s theory of the spectacle as “an integrated and diffuse apparatus of images and ideas that produces and regulates public discourse and opinion. In the society of spectacle, what was once imagined as the public sphere, the open terrain of political exchange and participation, completely evaporates. The spectacle destroys any collective form of sociability – individualizing social actors in their separate automobiles and in front of separate video screens – and at the same time imposes a new mass sociability, a new uniformity of action and thought.”
Below is a film by Debord based on his book ‘Society of the Spectacle’. The film is in French, with English subtitles.