The Society of the Spectacle Themes

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The Degradation of Life

The text proposes a theoretical process of understanding societal construction which includes many processes that degrade life. The society of the spectacle is one in which being is replaced by having, and having is replaced by appearing to have—hence, reality is displaced in favor of appearances. This extends even to social life, which has become a mere representation of social life. Debord argues this complete replacement is facilitated by advanced forms of capitalism, the mass media, and governance by structures that favor the spectacle. In the advanced stages of spectacle, relationships between commodities have fully replaced relationships between people. People remain merely to produce, or appear to produce, commodities and gaze at the spectacle. Numerous theses comment on the degradation of human life, including 6, 8, 10, 16, 17, 19, 30, 37, 60, 68, 114, 134, and 192. Aside from direct experience, the text also suggests that the spectacle degrades knowledge, rational thought, and other elements...

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This section contains 541 words
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Buy The Society of the Spectacle Study Guide
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