The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Urban Literary Studies

Living Edition
| Editors: Jeremy Tambling

Debord, Guy

  • Jeremy Tambling
Living reference work entry


Filmmaker (six films), writer, drinker, part-creator of the Situationist International (SI) and Marxist revolutionary, Guy Debord (1931–1994) remains one of the most influential of Parisian intellectuals postwar, drawing on Dada, as an art of negation, and Surrealism, which he critiqued as having allowed itself to become popular (though with a certain admiration for some Surrealists, including the Belgian Surrealist Marcel Mariën). Acknowledged for critiquing Jean-Paul Sartre (1905–1980), and giving, with those he was associated with, certain new terms which have altered critical theory forever, especially urban theory. Such terms as “situationism,” “psychogeography,” “spectacle,” and détournement (diversion, interruption) and dérive (drift: the art of losing the self in the city), each of which will be defined below, are essential for understanding the modern city and ways in which it has been written about, and the intellectual and revolutionary’s place within it.


Détournement Marxism Paris Psychogeography Revolution Situationism Terrorism The dérive The spectacle Urban design 
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  1. Bracken, Len. 1997. Guy Debord: Revolutionary. Venice: Feral House.Google Scholar
  2. Crary, Jonathan. 1989. Spectacle, attention, counter-memory. October 50: 96–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Debord, Guy. 1987. The Society of the spectacle. London: Rebel Press (no translator given, nor page-references).Google Scholar
  4. Debord, Guy. 1998. Comments on the society of the spectacle. Trans. Malcolm Imrie. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  5. McDonough, Tom. 2002. Guy Debord and the situationist international. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  6. Scribner, Charity. 2007. Buildings on fire: The situationist international and the Red Army faction. Grey Room 26: 30–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeremy Tambling
    • 1
  1. 1.LondonUK