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NASCAR, Sturgis, and the New Economy of Spectacle maps the structure of economies of spectacle in stock car racing and large displacement motorcycle rallying. The book traces the historical development of economic spectacles and models the structural components and moving parts that sustain them. Economies of spectatorship emerge when activities and legends in the cultural commons are privatized or enclosed as immaterial property. Once privatized, a spectacular diegesis supports a triple-circuit of profit: spectatorship markets (payments to see), sponsorship markets (payments to be seen) and trophy markets (payments to be seen enjoying). Vivid illustrations of legendary action in NASCAR and carnivalesque displays at Sturgis reveal how spectator events function as intensive sites of profit-making in contemporary capitalism.
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.
In The Political Economy of the Spectacle and Postmodern Caste, John Asimakopoulos analyzes the political economy of the society of the spectacle, a philosophical concept developed by Guy Debord and Jean Baudrillard. Using the analytical tools of social science, while historicizing, Asimakopoulos reveals that all societies in every epoch have been and continue to be caste systems legitimized by various ideologies. He concludes there is no such thing as capitalism (or socialism)—only a caste system hidden behind capitalist ideology. Key features of the book include its broad interdisciplinary-nonsectarian approach with quantitative and qualitative data. The Political Economy of the Spectacle and Postmodern Caste is well written and clear, making it accessible to the general public.
Art’s Economic Exceptionalism in Classical, Neoclassical and Marxist Economics
Art and Value is the first comprehensive analysis of art's political economy throughout classical, neoclassical and Marxist economics. It provides a critical-historical survey of the theories of art's economic exceptionalism, of art as a merit good, and of the theories of art's commodification, the culture industry and real subsumption.
Key debates on the economics of art, from the high prices artworks fetch at auction, to the controversies over public subsidy of the arts, the 'cost disease' of artistic production, and neoliberal and post-Marxist theories of art's incorporation into capitalism, are examined in detail.
Subjecting mainstream and Marxist theories of art's economics to an exacting critique, the book concludes with a new Marxist theory of art's economic exceptionalism.
Donald Trump, Media Spectacle, and Authoritarian Populism
Explaining the Donald Trump phenomenon is a challenge that will occupy critical theorists of U. S. politics for years to come. Firstly, Donald Trump won the Republican primary contest and is now a contender in the U. S. Presidential Election because he is the master of media spectacle, which he has deployed to create resonant images of himself in his business career, in his effort to become a celebrity and reality-TV superstar, and now his political campaign. More disturbingly, Trump embodies Authoritarian Populism and has used racism, nationalism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and the disturbing underside of American politics to mobilize his supporters in his successful Republican primary campaign and in the hotly contested 2016 general election.
The Trump phenomenon is a teachable moment that helps us understand the changes and contour of U. S. politics in the contemporary moment and the role of broadcast media, new media and social networking, and the politics of the spectacle. Trump reveals the threat of authoritarian populism, a phenomenon that is now global in scope, and the dangers of the rise to power of an individual who is highly destructive, who represents the worst of the 1 percent billionaire business class who masquerades as a “voice of the forgotten man” as he advances a political agenda that largely benefits the rich and the military, and who is a clear and present danger to U. S. democracy and global peace.
The book documents how Trump’s rise to global celebrity and now political power is bound up with his use of media spectacle and how his use of authoritarian populism has created a mass movement beyond his presidency and a danger to the traditions of U. S. democracy as well as economic security and world peace.
Editor: James Trier
Winner! 2015 AESA (American Educational Studies Association) Critics’ Choice Book Award.
The Situationist International (SI) was a Paris-based artistic and political avant-garde group that formed in 1957, went through three distinct phases during its existence, and dissolved in 1972. In 1967, SI leader Guy Debord published his book The Society of the Spectacle, which presents his theory of how “the Spectacle” (i.e., the Capitalist system in its totality) works endlessly (though not always successfully) to transform people into spectators whose sole purposes are to consume commodities and to live de-politicized, passive, isolated, and contemplative lives. To challenge and subvert “the Spectacle,” Debord and his SI associates theorized and practiced the anti-spectacular critical art they called “detournement,” which entails reusing existing artistic and mass-produced elements to create new combinations or ensembles. As Debord wrote in 1956, detournement has the potential to be “a powerful cultural weapon in the service of real class struggle.”
In this edited book, the authors contribute chapters about how they created their own detournements and used them as central audio-visual texts in critical projects that they designed and carried out in a variety of pedagogical situations. Most of the projects involved preservice teachers in teacher education courses, and the anti-spectacular purposes include challenging Hollywood’s problematic representations of Native Americans, subverting the racist stereotypes of Latin@s in a popular children’s book, and critiquing the neoliberal agenda of the charter school movement. This book offers readers detailed accounts of pedagogical projects that can serve as examples of the critical possibilities of detournement.
Race, Class and Politics
The “Greek Crisis” in Europe: Race, Class and Politics, critically analyses the publicity of the Greek debt crisis, by studying Greek, Danish and German mainstream media during the crisis’ early years (2009-2015). Mass media everywhere reproduced a sensualistic “Greek crisis” spectacle, while iterating neoliberal and occidentalist ideological myths. Overall, the Greek people were deemed guilty of a systemic crisis, supposedly enjoying lavish lifestyles on the EU’s expense. Using concrete examples, the study foregrounds neoorientalist, neoracist and classist stereotypes deployed in the construction and media coverage of the Greek crisis. These media practices are connected to the “soft politics” of the crisis, which produce public consensus over neoliberal reforms such as austerity and privatizations, and secure debt repayment from democratic interventions.
Cinema and Chinese Modernity (1949-1966)
What role did cinema play in the Chinese Communist Party’s political project of shaping ideal socialist citizens in the early People’s Republic? In Moulding the Socialist Subject, Xiaoning Lu deploys case studies from popular film genres, movie star culture and rural film exhibition practices to argue that Chinese cinema in 1949–1966, at once an important political instrument, an enjoyable yet instructive form of entertainment, and a specific manifestation of the socialist society of the spectacle, was an everyday site where the moulding of the new socialist person unfolded. While painting a broad picture of Chinese socialist cinema, Lu credits the human agency of film professionals, whose self-reflexivity and individual adaptability played an intrinsic role in the Party’s political project.
Tout semble opposer le théâtre au récit de soi. Le premier se rattache aux arts du spectacle, tandis que le second relève de l’intime. Genre littéraire emblématique du XVIIIe siècle, le roman-mémoires invite à dépasser cette opposition. S’il place l’expérience vécue au cœur de son écriture, il s’approprie également le langage de la scène comique ou tragique au profit d’une fiction de l’intériorité. Ce livre montre ce que le roman-mémoires doit au théâtre, en étudiant comment son écriture s’élabore à partir de différents emprunts et procédés caractéristiques de la scène. En s’inventant au sein d’une culture dominée par le goût du spectacle, ce genre lègue ainsi à la littérature à venir les éléments constitutifs d’un langage de l’intime.

Theatre and fictional memoir are supposedly opposites: the former has to do with the performing arts, while the latter focuses on the intimate side of life. A literary genre emblematic of the eighteenth century, fictional memoir invites readers to move beyond this assumption. Although lived experience is at the heart of the memoir, such fiction also appropriates the language of comedy or tragedy for the benefit of a novel of interiority. This book highlights fictional memoir’s debt to the theatre, while examining how its writing developed based on various borrowings and processes characteristic of the stage. By self-inventing within a culture dominated by enthusiasm for stage performance, this genre thereby endowed future literature with the constitutive elements of a language of the intimate.
Guy Debord, the Situationist International, and the Revolutionary Spirit presents a history of the two avant-garde groups that French filmmaker and subversive strategist Guy Debord founded and led: the Lettrist International (1952–1957) and the Situationist International (1957–1972). Debord is popularly known for his classic book The Society of the Spectacle (1967), but his masterwork is the Situationist International (SI), which he fashioned into an international revolutionary avant-garde group that orchestrated student protests at the University of Strasbourg in 1966, contributed to student unrest at the University of Nanterre in 1967–1968, and played an important role in the occupations movement that brought French society to a standstill in May of 1968.

The book begins with a brief history of the Lettrist International that explores the group’s conceptualization and practice of the critical anti-art practice of détournement, as well as the subversive spatial practices of the dérive, psychogeography, and unitary urbanism. These practices, which became central to the Situationist International, anticipated many contemporary cultural practices, including culture jamming, critical media literacy, and critical public pedagogy. This book follows up the edited book Détournement as Pedagogical Praxis (Sense Publishers, 2014), and together they offer readers, particularly those in the field of Education, an introduction to the history, concepts, and critical practices of a group whose revolutionary spirit permeates contemporary culture, as can be seen in the political actions of Pussy Riot in Russia, the “yellow vest” protesters in France, the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and the striking teachers and student protesters on campuses throughout the U.S.