Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Fall 2017

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

French

First Advisor

Warren Motte

Second Advisor

Michela Ardizzoni

Third Advisor

Martha Hanna

Abstract

In 1967 the leader of the French Situationist International movement, Guy Debord, published his book The Society of the Spectacle, a collection of 221 theses that elucidates and critiques the “spectacle,” which can be understood as a collection of inaccurate representations or images that distract from “real life.” The spectacle, in his terms, is a convoluted entity that was a product of modern capitalism and sought to prevent revolution and control the individual by estranging him from history and impeding him from leading an authentic life. This thesis examines the claims of Guy Debord in the context of our contemporary society, a world where the Internet, coupled with portable technologies, enables rapid distribution of media, facilitates consumerism, encourages narcissism, and generally inserts the spectacle more directly into daily life. The Internet has irrevocably altered our culture and society in ways that augment and empower the spectacle, possibly to the detriment of humanity.

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