Beyond Spectacle and the Image: the Poetics of Guy Debord and Agamben

Murray Alex

in The Work of Giorgio Agamben

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780748634620
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652440 | DOI:
Beyond Spectacle and the Image: the Poetics of Guy Debord and Agamben

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This chapter reviews the crucial relationship Giorgio Agamben forges with the work of Guy Debord and the concept of ‘the society of the spectacle’. It isolates three key moments in which a relationship between the two thinkers can be productively pursued: the critique of the spectacle and commodity fetishism, the image and cinema, and the idea of a critical ‘poetics’ of life. The role of Debord in Agamben's theoretical project is arguably much greater than the concordance in their critique of the spectacle. The work of language in power is not to obscure meaning, but to obscure the space in between, the taking place of language as such. Agamben's own call for an ‘ethics’ may seem antithetical to Debord's position.

Keywords: Giorgio Agamben; Guy Debord; spectacle; language; ethics; poetics

Chapter.  7118 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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