Debord, Time and Spectacle

Hegelian Marxism and Situationist Theory


In Debord, Time and Spectacle Tom Bunyard provides a detailed philosophical study of the theoretical work of Guy Debord and the Situationist International. Drawing on evidence from Debord’s books, films, letters and notes, Bunyard reconstructs the Hegelian and Marxian ideas that support Debord’s central concept of ‘spectacle’. This affords a reconsideration of Debord’s theoretical claims, and a reinterpretation of his broader work that foregrounds his concerns with history and lived time. By bringing Situationist theory into dialogue with recent reinterpretations of Marx, this book also identifies problems in Debord’s critique of capitalism. It argues, however, that the conceptions of temporality and spectacle that support that critique amount to a philosophy of praxis that remains relevant today.

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Tom Bunyard, Ph.D. (2012), Goldsmiths, is a Senior Lecturer in the Humanities Programme at the University of Brighton. He has published several articles on the relationship between Debord, Hegel and Marx, and works on critical theory and philosophy of history.
List of Illustrations

Introduction: Radioactivity

Subjectivity, Temporality and Spectacle

1 Interpreting the Theory of Spectacle

2 Five Aspects of Debord’s Theoretical Work

The New Beauty: 1951–62

3 ‘We are Artists Insofar as We are No Longer Artists’

4 The Everyday and the Absolute

5 ‘Avant-Gardes Have Only One Time’

‘Everything that had Formerly been Absolute Became Historical’

6 Debord and French Hegelianism

7 Subjects and Objects: Debord, Lukács and the Young Marx

8 Life and Non-life

In Pursuit of the Northwest Passage: 1963–73

9 Never Work!

10 ‘I am Nothing and I Should be Everything’

11 The ‘Fetishism of Capital’

The Integrated Spectacle: 1974–94

12 Moving with History’s ‘Bad Side’

13 Strategy and Tactics in the Integrated Spectacle

14 The Knight, Death and the Devil

All interested in the work of Guy Debord and the Situationist International, but also those who are engaged with Hegel, Marx, critical theory and cultural studies.
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