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The Spectacle of Disintegration: Situationist Passages Out of the Twentieth Century Hardcover – 13 May 2013

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Verso Books (13 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844679578
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844679577
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 2.4 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 625,574 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


Praise for Beach Beneath the Street: Wark's readable explanation of the movement's ideas is the best I have read. --Edwin Heathcote, Financial Times

Praise for Beach Beneath the Street: A playful, smart and occasionally epigrammatic study of the Situationists ... this brilliant account is not only an essential work for our own times; it also comes with a cover that, with the minimum of manual dexterity, folds out intoa collaborative graphic essay. --John Burnside, Times Literary Supplement

Praise for Beach Beneath the Street: Wark is a fine aphorist... Playful, angry, depressed, celebratory, this is a book for anyone not convinced that there is no alternative to the way we live now. --Christopher Bray, Observer

About the Author

McKenzie Wark is the author of A Hacker Manifesto, Gamer Theory, 50 Years of Recuperation of the Situationist International and The Beach Beneath the Street, among other books. He teaches at the New School for Social Research and Eugene Lang College in New York City.

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Victor Anderson on 21 Aug. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Why is Situationism still cool? After so many theorists of the 60s have passed into history and are no longer read - Herbert Marcuse and RD Laing, for example - the Situationists are still going strong. New books about them keep appearing.

Mainly that's because they were ahead of their time. The attention they paid to television, celebrity, consumerism, and shopping, in the attempt to understand how capitalism has been changing, looks now almost prophetic. They understood what was happening, and now - almost 50 years since their key text, 'The Society of the Spectacle', was published in 1967 - they are still ahead of the analyses of the more traditionalist sections of the Left.

They also embodied a sense of intelligent total revolt and uncompromising rejection of the status quo (I've found Situationism particularly good to read at times when I've been angry with the stupidity of managers) - which also explains why it became an influence on punk.

However, because it aims at total critique, Situationism can be over-the-top and overly negative. There are some examples in this book. Though it is true that mobile phones have led some people to find it hard to get away from their jobs in their time off (page 11), many of us have found them rather useful. Although sexuality is certainly used to sell commodities, it is an overstatement to claim that as a result, "love is nowhere" (page 80). It also seems a strange judgement to praise the Situationist theorist Guy Debord for refusing to compromise after 1968, declining into alcoholism and eventually suicide, but in contrast to condemn anarchist-turned-Green Danny Cohn-Bendit on the sole grounds that after '68 he became a Green Member of the European Parliament.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 1 review
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Great 13 July 2014
By Christopher M. Moylan - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A really smart and well written survey of Situationist projects, focusing in large part on film work. It's a great pleasure to read a work of this sort free of jargon. I enjoyed reading the book.
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