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Dr. Mookerjea - Cultural Studies 5

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Sourayan Mookerjea

SOCIOLOGY 345 HAROLD INNIS Quickly returning to Guy Debord first: "When economic necessity is replaced by the necessity for boundless economic development, the satisfaction of primary human needs is replaced by an uninterrupted fabrication of pseudo-needs which are reduced to the single pseudo-need of maintaining the reign of the autonomous economy." Debord 51. people are asked to make all kinds of sacrifices for the sake of the economy itself, as if the economy is a good in itself, an end in itself. the economy growing is the only thing our politicians talk about. in terms of the canadian public debate about what our goals should be is constantly devolving into what is good for the economy. when is the last time you heard a politician talk about the good life? this is exactly what debord is talking about. "The autonomous economy permanently breaks away from fundamental need to the extent that it emerges from the social unconscious which unknowingly depended on it." - he is referring to Freud's idea of the unconscious as being our base person whereas our conscious is an immune response from being thrown into a social life. the unconscious has its history going back to your childhood, and the content of your consciousness is shaped by the form residing in your unconscious, all your experiences you've forgotten or repressed, always coming back in neuroses and sublimation. guy debord draws the analogy: we are used to our particular class and social role and circumstances and all our entertainments and experiences we are now enabled to have by capitalism, but this is all organized behind our back: our experiences have been planned behind our backs, the needs and the fulfillments cooked up by people looking to profit from our consumption. Debord is also an artist. he theorizes but he also asks HOW DO WE RESPOND? When the only way we can belong in society or belong to someone else is completely mediated by the relation of spectacles / images to each other. he wants to respond with his visual arts: DETOURNAMENT this is essentially culture jamming methods of detournement: two main repreentational strategies of detournement MINOR DETOURNAMENT - detournement of an element which has no importance in itself and which thus draws all its meaning from the new context in which it has been placed. ie a press clipping, a commonplace photo DECEPTIVE DETOURNAMENT - also temed premonitory proposition detournement, is in contrast the detournement of an intrinsically significant element, which derives a different scope from the new context. four laws of detournement: 1. its th emost distant detourned element which contributes most sharply to the overall impression and noth the elements directly determine the nature of this impression. for example, in a metagraph [poem-collage] relating to the spanish civil war the phrase with the most distinctly revolutionary sense is a fragment from a lipstick ad: "pretty lips are red" 2. the distortions introduced in the detourned elements must be as simplified as possible, since the main force of a detournement directly related to the conscious or vague recollection of the original contexts of the elements. 3. detournament is less effective the more it approaches a rational reply. the more the rational character of the reply is apparent, th e more indistinguishable it becomes from the ordinary spirit of repartee, which similarly uses the opponents words against him. this is naturally not limited to spoken language. it was in this connection that we objected to the project of some of our comrades who proposed to detroun an anti-soviet poster of the fascist organization 'peace and liberty' which proclaimed, amid images of overlapping flags of the western powers, union makes strength -- b adding into it a smaller sheet wiht the prhaase and coalitions make war 4. detournement by simple reversal is always the most direct and the least effective. this is what we see in the 68 paris, in detroit, in culture jamming, in banksy, in adbusters, etc. but if we look at adbusters we see that even the effort to critique the spectacle society slips back into spectacle itself, mediating itself through commodity relationships, selling magazines and books and such. SITUATIONISTS / SITUATIONALISM - intervening in the situation that the spectacle sets up to get your way - i.e. bus pamphlets to get bike rack holders on buses in vancouver - i.e. man who wore car sized shaped cut out and then walks down the sidewalk to show some politics of space and how cars are given so much and people are given so little. HAROLD INNIS He is responding to the same historical situation as Guy Debord, in one sense, and is also trying to come up with ideas to understand this new situation, this process of change, better. Innis had experience in the First World War as a member of the signal core, communications. trained as a political economist in USA, then was a political economist at the UofT. mostly made his name for his work on Canadian economic history, especially for StaplesTheory. All the key staples, cod, wheat, lumber, etc. The history of the presence of British Empire and their relationship to what becomes the Canadian nation state, tha thistory of economic development, Innis studied this in terms of the fundamental canadian staple products. APLEAFORTIME begins with a discussion of the emergence of historical consciousness in europe. at the time he was writing, it was widely overlooked tha thte rediscovery of greece and Ancient Rome and antiquity by rennaissance, that that was not so much a rediscovery as a transmission of texts from the islamic world, especially in moorish spain (toledo), that they had preserved from antiquity. for feudal christian writers of europe there is a sudden awareness that there is an older past behind you, and thus a development of a sense of being in history, and then a series of major transformations culturally and academically, that views everything in terms of history. geology says the planet is way older than the bible says. evolution says the same for organisms, questioning their development as historical as well. then the Big Bang theory blows out our knowledge and understanding of time and historical change because the magnanimity of the time units we are dealing with is incomprehendable. innis then discusses the rise and fall of empires innis then discusses newsprint and newspaper then he abruptly ends it with a plea for time and something about space-bias. WHAT JUST HAPPENED HAHAHA The distinction he makes after it all between the linear tim▯
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