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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Rethinking the Spectacle

Guy Debord, Radical Democracy, and the Digital Age

Spectacle is usually considered a superficial form of politics, which tries to distract and deceive a passive audience. It is difficult to see how this type of politics could be reconciled with the democratic requirement of active and informed agency. Rethinking the Spectacle re-examines the tension between spectacle and political agency using the ideas and practices of Guy Debord and the Situationist International as a point of departure. Drawing on radical democratic theory and examining case studies such as the 2011 Occupy movement, Devin Penner concludes that spectacle can and should be used to mobilize the public for egalitarian purposes.

252 pages

Table of Contents


1 The Spectacle in Theory: Debord’s Conception and Beyond

2 Practical Implications: From the Situationist International to Autonomist Marxism

3 Rethinking the Spectacle 1: Lessons from the Situationist International

4 Rethinking the Spectacle 2: Toward a Radically Democratic Approach

5 The Spectacular Politics of the 2011 Occupy Movement


Notes; Bibliography; Index

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