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Guy Debord

Guy Debord



Newly translated and annotated by Ken Knabb
150 pages. $15.00

Guy Debord was the most influential figure in the Situationist International, the notorious group that helped trigger the May 1968 revolt in France. His book “The Society of the Spectacle,” originally published in Paris in 1967, has been translated into more than twenty other languages and is arguably the most important radical book of the twentieth century. This is the first edition in any language to include extensive annotations, clarifying the historical allusions and revealing the sources of Debord’s

Contrary to popular misconceptions, Debord’s book is neither an ivory tower “philosophical” discourse nor a mere expression of “protest.” It is a carefully considered effort to clarify the most fundamental tendencies and contradictions of the society in which we find ourselves. This makes it more of a challenge, but it is also why it remains so pertinent nearly half a century after its original publication while countless other social theories and intellectual fads have come and gone.

It has, in fact, become even more pertinent than ever, because the spectacle has become more all-pervading than ever — to the point that it is almost universally taken for granted. Most people today have scarcely any awareness of pre-spectacle history, let alone of anti-spectacle possibilities. As Debord noted in his follow-up work, “Comments on the Society of the Spectacle” (1988), “spectacular domination has succeeded in raising an entire generation molded to its laws.”

The book is now at the printer’s. It will be available March 20. For further information, see

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We are currently soliciting paper proposals for our seminar titled “Paris, Capitalism and Modernity in France from the 17th through the 19th centuries” at the American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA) 2014 Annual Conference, New York University, New York City, NY, March 20-23, 2014. The conference theme is “Capitals.”

We have space for up to twelve participants in our seminar. Proposals of up to 250 words should be submitted by midnight, Thursday November 1, 2013, at the following link:

Please ensure you select our seminar in the drop-down list.

Our seminar theme is the history and representation of capital, capitalism and/or the French capital as a economic center in French modernity, defined in economic terms by the rise of a society dominated by market institutions in a period from the seventeenth through the nineteenth century. The full description of our seminar can be found below, and at the following link:

Please also do not hesitate to contact us personally if you are interested.

Best wishes,
Andrew Billing ( and Juliette Cherbuliez (

Seminar Title: Paris, Capitalism and Modernity in France from the 17th through the 19th centuries

The theme of this seminar is the history and representation of capital, capitalism and/or the French capital as a economic center in French modernity, defined in economic terms by the rise of a society dominated by market institutions in a period from the seventeenth through the nineteenth century. Participants are invited to take as points of departure Walter Benjamin’s famous nomination of Paris as the “capital of the nineteenth century” in view of its phantasmagoric celebration of market society and commodity fetishism, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s well-known description in “La Nouvelle Héloïse” of the French capital as “the city in the world in which fortunes are most unequal, and in which reign at the same time the most sumptuous elegance and the most deplorable misery.” Both Rousseau and Benjamin identify a Paris simultaneously exemplary and exceptional as a site for the concentration of wealth and economic power and the display of commodification and inequality. Our panel will explore or contest this and other specificities of Paris and French capitalism in modernity.

We welcome proposals that engage with literary and aesthetic representations of capital, capitalism and/or the French capital, e.g. Molière, Rousseau, Mercier, and Balzac; with French economic thought as elaborated in diverse modes throughout this period from the physiocrats through Fourier, Saint-Simon, Bastiat and Proudhon; and with the contestation of capital and capitalism during the Revolution, the Commune and other significant historical moments. Panelists are also encouraged to explore economic relations and exchange between Paris and France’s colonies during this period.

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International Conference

From Structure to Rhizome: Transdisciplinarity in French Thought, 1945 to the Present – Histories, concepts, constructions

Cine Lumière, The French Institute
17 Queensberry Place, London, SW7 2DT
tel. 020 7073 1350

Friday 16 & Saturday 17 April 2010

In the final decades of the twentieth century, the great books of postwar French theory transformed study in the humanities in the Anglophone world. These texts were all, in one way or another, transdisciplinary in character.

Yet their reception has primarily taken place in an array of specific disciplinary contexts, isolated from a broader understanding of the intellectual dynamics, forms, significance and innovative potential of their transdisciplinarity itself. This conference aims to address this situation. Each speaker will reflect on the transdisciplinary functioning of a single concept in French thought since 1945, with respect to a founding text, a particular thinker or a school of thought.


Éric Alliez (CRMEP, Middlesex University) ‘Rhizome’

Etienne Balibar (University of Paris X/Irvine UC) ‘Structure’

Andrew Barry (Oxford University) ‘Network’

Tom Conley (Harvard University) ‘Writing’

François Cusset (University of Paris X) ‘Theory’

Patrick Guyomard (University of Paris VII) ‘Object a’

Jean-Marc Lévy-Leblond (University of Nice) ‘Science’

Alain de Libera (EPHE, Paris/University of Geneva) ‘Subject’

Peter Osborne (CRMEP, Middlesex University) ‘Transdisciplinarity’

Michèle Riot-Sarcey (University of Paris VIII) ‘History’

Stella Sandford (CRMEP, Middlesex University) ‘Sex’

£45 / £20 students – includes drinks reception, 16 April: launch of the CRMEP/AHRC website for ‘The Cahiers pour l’Analyse, 1966–1969’

Advance registration: please write to Tom Eyers, at:<>.

Cheques should be made payable to ‘Middlesex University’. Send to: Professor Peter Osborne, CRMEP, Middlesex University, Trent Park campus, Bramley Road, London N14 4YZ, United Kingdom.

Supported by the Cultural Service of the French Embassy

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