A Situationist Portrait of Power: Cybernetics, May ’68, and The Situationist International

In: Historical Materialism
Dominique Routhier Independent Researcher

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This article presents the critique of cybernetics as central to the history of one of the twentieth century’s most infamous avant-garde movements: the Situationist International (SI). Bringing together and analysing a series of seemingly marginal events in the build-up to May ’68, this article shows how the SI’s portrait of cybernetics as an emerging form of social power and control foreshadows later developments in French radical thought. This little-noted trajectory in the situationist movement also highlights the ways in which aesthetics, theory, and politics are inextricably tied together in the events of May ’68.

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