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Society of the spectacle is a term deployed by Guy Debord (1931–1994) and members of the Situationist International during the 1960s to critique the alienating conditions of capitalist and state bureaucratic societies. Most fully addressed in a book with the same title, published by Debord in France in 1967, the concept was grounded in Marxist thought and was forged to confront a new stage in capitalist productive forces and the accumulation of capital in parts of social life that had come under the sway of the market and the commodity—or “colonized,” as the situationists put it—and in which subjects were increasingly rendered as passive and isolated spectators and consumers, contemplating what was presented to them, rather than active political agents who were collectively and ...

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