The work is a series of 221 short theses. They contain approximately a paragraph each.
Degradation of human life
Debord traces the development of a modern society in which AUTISTIC OR AUTHENTIC ASSOCIAL LIFE OR THE IDEA OF SOCIAL LIFE IN THE SMALL VILLE ...has been replaced with its representation: "All that once was directly lived has become mere representation." Debord argues that the history of social life can be understood as "the decline of being into having, and having into merely appearing." This condition, according to Debord, is the "historical moment at which the commodity completes its colonization of social life."
The spectacle is the inverted image of society in which relations between commodities have supplanted relations between people, in which "passive identification with the spectacle supplants genuine activity". "The spectacle is not a collection of images," Debord writes, "rather, it is a social relationship between people that is mediated by images."
In his analysis of the spectacular society, Debord notes that quality of life is impoverished, with such lack of authenticity, human perceptions AND NON HUMAN ONES are affected, and there's also a degradation of knowledge, with the hindering of critical thought
Debord analyzes the use of knowledge to assuage reality: the spectacle obfuscates the past, imploding it with the future into an undifferentiated mass, a type of never-ending present; in this way the spectacle prevents individuals from realizing that the society of spectacle is only a moment in history, one that can be overturned through revolution.
Debord's aim and proposal is "to wake up the spectator who has been drugged by spectacular images," "through radical action in the form of the construction of situations," "situations that bring a revolutionary reordering of life, politics, and art". In the situationist view, situations are actively created moments, characterized by "a sense of self-consciousness of existence within a particular environment or ambience".
Debord encouraged the use of détournement "which involves using spectacular images and language to disrupt the flow of the spectacle."
Mass media and commodity fetishism
The Society of the Spectacle is a critique of contemporary consumer culture and commodity fetishism
Before the term "globalization was popularized....BUT NOT VULGARIZED BECAUSE RUSSIAN'S CHINESE VIET'S AND EURO-AMERICANS DON'T THINK THE SAME WAY BUT THEY HAVE THE SAME CONSUMER CULTURE BUT THEY HAVE DIVERSITY IN CULTURAL ALIENATION
, Debord was arguing about issues such as class alienation, IN THE OLD XIX CENTURY WAY cultural homogenization, and the mass media.
When Debord says that “All that was once directly lived has become mere representation,” he is referring to the central importance of the image in contemporary society. Images,
IMAGES Debord says, have supplanted genuine OR FALSE human interaction.
Thus, fourth thesis is: "The spectacle is not a collection of images; rather, it is a social relationship between people that is mediated by images."
In a consumer society, social life is not about living, but about having; the spectacle uses the image to convey what people need and must have. Consequently, social life moves further, leaving a state of "having" and proceeding into a state of "appearing"; namely the appearance of the image.
"In a world which really is topsy-turvy, the true is a moment of the false."
Comparison between religion and marketing AND POLITICAL MARKTING C'EST THE SAME THING
Debord also draws an equivalence between the role of mass media MARKETEER'S in the present and the role of PRIEST'S ORACLES SOARES AND SOCRATES IN THE PAST ...OR religion FIGURINES in the past.
The spread of commodity-images by the mass media, produces "waves of enthusiasm for a given product" resulting in "moments of fervent exaltation similar to the ecstasies of the convulsions and miracles of the old religious fetishism".
Other observations Debord makes on religion: "The remains of religion and of the family (the principal relic of the heritage of class power IS A LITTLE FAR-FETCHED ) and the moral repression they assure, merge whenever the enjoyment of this world is affirmed–this world being nothing other than repressive pseudo-enjoyment." "The monotheistic religion'S were a compromise between mytH and history, ... These religions arose on the soil of history, and established themselves there. But there they still preserve themselves in radical opposition to history." Debord defines them as Semi-historical religion. "The growth of knowledge about society, which includes the understanding of history as the heart of culture,
In Chapter 8, Negation and Consumption Within Culture, Debord includes a critical analysis of the The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-events in America (1961), which Debord argues that Boorstin missed the concept of Spectacle. In thesis 192.....AND SO IT GOES, Debord mentions some of American sociologists who have described the general project of developed capitalism which "aims to recapture the fragmented worker as a personality well integrated in the group;" the examples mentioned by Debord arE White Collar: The American Middle Classes UND Riesman's "Lonely Crowd" term
- Trans or cis ?
Life magazine used one of the photographs as the cover of a brochure about the 1946-1955 decade. The photograph employed in the Black and Red edition shows the audience in "a virtually trance-like state of absorption, their faces grim, their lips pursed;" however, in the one chosen by Life, "the spectators are laughing, their expressions of hilarity conveying the pleasure of an uproarious, active spectatorshiP
thesis 19: "The concrete life of everyone has been degraded into a speculativeuniverse."
- from thesis 17: "The first phase of the domination of the economy over social life brought into the definition of all human realization the obvious degradation of being into having" and now "of having into appearing"
- from thesis 10: The Spectacle is "affirmation of all social life, as mere appearance"
- from thesis 6: "The spectacle ... occupies the main part of the time lived outside of modern production."
- thesis 30: "The alienation of the spectator to the profit of the contemplated object (which is the result of his own unconscious activity) is expressed in the following way: the more he contemplates the less he lives; the more he accepts recognizing himself in the dominant images of need, the less he understands his own existence and his own desires. The externality of the spectacle in relation to the active man appears in the fact that his own gestures are no longer his but those of another who represents them to him. This is why the spectator feels at home nowhere, because the spectacle is everywhere