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Revisiting the Society of the Spectacle in the post-9/11 World

Author(s): Miroslav Kosović

Journal: Suvremene Teme : Contemporary Issues
ISSN 1847-2397

Volume: 4;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 18;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: spectacle | fear | audiovisual magnitude | audiovisual trauma

In this paper I aim to revisit and add my own contribution to the theory of the spectacle by comparing Guy Debord’s model of the spectacle introduced in his book The Society of the Spectacle with a new type of spectacle – the spectacle of fear, here epitomized by the 9/11. By comparing Debord’s model with this new type of spectacle, I proceed to identify the key differences between the two, arguing that Debord’s certain fundamental theses on the spectacle need to be revised in order to understand the spectacle of fear. I propose to revise Debord’s theory in three ways. Firstly, the spectacle no longer represents the betterment of reality, with trauma becoming its chief end product, replacing satisfaction as the correlate of Debord’s spectacle. Secondly, as a consequence of globalization and development of technology, the state and the corporate have lost the monopoly over the spectacle and the individual is now able to produce and disseminate streams of spectacles at unprecedented speeds. Finally, I introduce the audiovisual magnitude and the intensity of the trauma inflicted to the spectator as the sole determinants of the effectiveness of the spectacle of fear, leading to the argument that the spectacle always seeks to increase its own magnitude as it immunizes the spectator against its lighter versions.
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Tango Rapperswil
Tango Rapperswil