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New Left Review I/214, November-December 1995

Régis Debray

Remarks on the Spectacle

‘The society of the spectacle’ is a phrase that has passed, in France, and I suppose elsewhere, into common parlance. The recent death of Guy Debord has had a share in giving to his work of 1967, and to the Situationist trend of the sixties, a reputation as invaluable points of reference; some researchers, who are particularly interested in the history of images and representation, have seen a parallel between the works of Walter Benjamin and Guy Debord, or have thought that they fit into a logical sequence. When a friend recently wrote to me along these lines, I was led to answer him in order to clarify issues which seem to arise from a theoretical misunderstanding. It is these personal reflections that I propose to make available here. [1] This is the text of a talk given at the conference "Towards a Theory of the Image" held at the Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht earlier this year. A version if this talk was published in Débats, no. 85, May-August 1995.

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