Sunday, January 16, 2022

Society of the Spectacle, Chapter 7

 Chapter 7: The Organization of Territory


After two chapters on time, Debord now has a very short one on space. The theme is that under commodity capitalism, all space has become banalized. Places lose their unique meaning as part of becoming universally equivalent and interchangeable. In particular, the distinction between the city and the country has been eroded or overwritten [though he does not say this, perhaps because he is looking at France rather than the US, this could be called universal suburbanization.]  Tourism (168) relies on this universal equivalence and consumability of place. Debord talks about urbanism under capitalism as being an attempt by capital to remake space in its own image, by destroying or disabling the city, fighting against the threat posed by the workers having been brought together by the conditions of production . This involves mass architecture as housing for workers (173), and also "the suppression of the street" (172).

The city had been where universal history had come to life and remains the locus of history; capitalism and the spectacle work to keep this from coming to fruition. In 178-9 he talks about revolution, to be led by worker's councils, which will remake cities again, in their own image, instead of capitalism's.

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