Guy Debord, the Situationist International and the Abolition of Alienated Labour

  • Alastair Hemmens
Part of the Studies in Revolution and Literature book series (SRL)


This chapter provides an analysis of the critique of work developed by Guy Debord and the Situationist International (SI) in the post-war period. Debord and the SI represent in many respects both a continuation and a radical redevelopment of the artistic avant-garde’s anti-work discourse. The chapter gives a detailed critical reading of the theory of ‘Spectacle’ as an attack on the artificial expansion of ‘necessary labour’ in modern societies through the extension of mass consumption. The Situationists propose that, in opposition to the historical drive of commodity-producing society to create always more reasons to work, human beings might choose instead to use the opportunities opened up by productive technologies to reject labour altogether and devote themselves to the ‘construction of situations’.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alastair Hemmens
    • 1
  1. 1.Cardiff UniversityCardiffUK

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