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Daniel Krier and William J. Swart

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.

Debord, Time and Spectacle

Hegelian Marxism and Situationist Theory

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Tom Bunyard

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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John Asimakopoulos

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 informed reader.

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Dylan Kelby Rogers

Water played an important part of ancient Roman life, from providing necessary drinking water, supplying bath complexes, to flowing in large-scale public fountains. The Roman culture of water was seen throughout the Roman Empire, although it was certainly not monolithic and it could come in a variety of scales and forms, based on climatic and social conditions of different areas. This article seeks to define ‘water culture’ in Roman society by examining literary, epigraphic, and archaeological evidence, while understanding modern trends in scholarship related to the study of Roman water. The culture of water can be demonstrated through expressions of power, aesthetics, and spectacle. Further there was a shared experience of water in the empire that could be expressed through religion, landscape, and water’s role in cultures of consumption and pleasure.

Image et spectacle

Actes du XXXIIe Colloque International d’Etudes Humanistes du Centre d’Etudes Supérieures de la Renaissance (Tours, 29 juin–8 juillet 1989)

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Edited by Pierre Béhar

Spectacle, Rhetoric and Power

The Triumphal Entry of Prince Philip of Spain into Antwerp

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Stijn Bussels

In 1549, Prince Philip of Spain made his entry into Antwerp together with his father, Emperor Charles V. For this occasion the rich city of commerce was transformed into a large theatrical space with triumphal arches and tableaux vivants as stage settings. The citizens and the princes acted as actors in a splendid parade, a battle array of four thousand participants, impressive tournaments and a huge firework display. This resulted in one of the most expensive and impressive festivities of the early modern period. The organizing municipality drew on various theatrical genres in an effort to bring about a renewal in the existing power relations between the Habsburg rulers and themselves, as well as the relations of the rulers with the population. Exactly how the city and the monarch were depicted was illustrative of the precious balance of power between the Habsburgs and the city fathers and of both parties toward their respective subjects. How these power relations were precisely staged in Antwerp is studied in this book.

Edited by Nermin Ahmed Haikal and Morag Kennedy

Spectacle & image in Renaissance Europe / Spectacle & image dans l'Europe de la Renaissance

Selected papers of the XXXIInd Conference at the Centre d'Études Supérieures de la Renaissance de Tours, 29 June-8 July 1989 / Choix de Communications du XXXIIe Colloque du Centre d'Études Supérieures de la Renaissance de Tours, 29 Juin - 8 Juillet 1989

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Edited by Lascombes

These nineteen papers focus on the 1480-1610 period in England, France and Spain, offering a range of views on the use of images to spectacular ends in institutional form or in artifacts.
After a recall of what neurophysiology says about brain treatment of images and what dominant codings of image may have been in Renaissance commonalty culture, four studies examine the way propagandistic imagery operates and its various effects, from benign submission to fierce opposition. Most studies, however, review accepted or moot points regarding interpretation of plays or staging. Interestingly, even if the papers build on different premises, they come up with fairly consistent findings about theatrical coding and image reception.
While the selection helps see why study of popular shows - including plays - needs be rooted in the broadest cultural context, it also illustrates how basic similitudes in the strategic use, and the impact, of images underlie superficial generic differences.

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Carolyn Marino Malone

This interdisciplinary study interprets the façade of Wells Cathedral as an integral part of thirteenth-century English Church liturgy and politics. Carolyn Malone posits that architectural motifs, as signs, complemented not only the façade’s sculptural program of the Church Triumphant but also its use during liturgical processions. Interpreted as an ideological construct, the façade’s design is related to theological change, liturgical innovation and political strategy, as well as to the conjuncture of several major historical and cultural events of the 1220s. As part of the Church’s empowering ritual, the façade expressed the reforming views of the Fourth Lateran Council, promoted Wells as the seat the diocese and proclaimed the covenant between Church and State in England following Magna Carta.

Art and Value

Art’s Economic Exceptionalism in Classical, Neoclassical and Marxist Economics

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Dave Beech

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.