How to misunderstand Situationists & other Social-Barbarians


A new article by me criticizing Bernard Quiriny’s questionable attempt to make Cornelius Castoriadis the inspiration or even source of the Situationist theory of ‘the society of the spectacle’.

PDF available here.

Comments are welcome.

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4 Responses to How to misunderstand Situationists & other Social-Barbarians

  1. biffbang says:

    An interesting read Anthony. In my own recent reading of the early issues of Internationale Situationniste I’ve been surprised at how present concepts such as ‘the spectacle’ are from the very first issue (notably in “Avec et Contre le Cinema”). While the implications may not be as fleshed out as they became later – the early conception is in no way contradictory and seems quite well-developed, even by June 1958..

    I’m hoping that you’ll be making your thesis available via the blog once it’s complete?

    • antyphayes says:

      This is a guiding thread that Debord et al are unravelling, at least from the time of the Rapport… in 1957. As you rightly point out the term ‘spectacle’ is there in the first ish, e.g. ‘du spectacle sans participation’, ‘du misérable spectacle’ in Avec et contre le cinema. Interestingly in the same article there is even an implicit distinction between their more specific Situationist sense of the term and the more common sense (even then) of the ‘spectacle’ of modern cinema and modern society more generally.

      And yes my thesis will be up online shortly after its finished.

      • biffbang says:

        Indeed – that differentiation between ‘show’ and “spectacle’ in that article (and I suspect even a pun between them) really hit me strongly.

  2. Arianne says:

    I would very much like two read the PDF mentioned here: How to misunderstand Situationists & other Social-Barbarians. Regrettably it is not available following the link. Please let me know how I can read it. Writing about the topic, I am a bit under time constraint…. Thank you very much, Arianne

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