Talk:Situationist International/Archive02

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Situationism - Situationist International

I have a suggestion. There is an issue of lack of clarity here. We don't need a 'situationist' page. This page would be better split into 2 pages, under these two headings. It might help to avoid some of the confusion and diagreements below.

Situationist International - on the history of the main group (and of the various schisms with the antinational, the bauhaus etc etc, which properly should have links to articles on each of them in their own right, rather than lumping them all akwardly under 'situationist' and then arguing over which is more truly situationist.)

Situationism - (as the term for a body critical theory) Although the SI denied there was any such thing as a school of 'situationism,' they nonetheless produced a body of critical, theoretical ideas and arguments, which have since been developed by other groups and individuals. This page would describe the body of ideas and concepts developed by these various groups, and those which followed them (pro-SI, post-SI etc etc). Each set of ideas could be helpfully organised by the group who first developed them. For discussion of 'situationism' as a historical movement, you'd link to the SI page. ----

I agree with your observations. And I feel anything that tends to break up this article should help improve it (the academic, graduate/specialist writing- presumably 'verifiable'- among other problems offers little evidence of this movement which is intelligible or readable at a 'popular' level). But your term "situationism" is of course inherently problematic; it will never sit easily as an article ID; more likely it'll provoke contrarians. Perhaps "Situationist theory" would say it just as well- and without recruiting anarchists of every class all over the world to regularly vandalize any such article? Hilarleo Hey,L.E.O.v 06:10, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

Disambiguation and historiography

Changed article to concentrate on 'situationist' rather than just the SI 10:59, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Ad Hominum

I've cleared up a number of the issues below, and corrected historical innacuries and theoretical vagueness in the article by referring back to the SI's works and activities directly. At some point some Stewart Home-esque disinformationist seems to have inserted a few invented facts and so on, which I've removed. I'd suggest that in the last bit on their concepts, the section on detournement needs to be rewritten, because it's a ramble which is mostly concerned with pro-situ concepts of detournement and modern version of it, and not on what the SI wrote or practiced. There should also be a paragraph on Derive there.

  • Situgraphy and Situgraphology: Drawing from the artistic Lettrist praxis of hypergraphy as well as older developments in mathematics and topology in Henri Poincare's Analysis Situs , the main theorist of the SI Asger Jorn formulated theories of plastic, anti-Euclidean geometry and topology which was at the heart of Situationist critiques of urbanism and other manifestations of contemporary capitalist culture and politics.

Why has that section been removed? 12:43, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

Because just about every statement in the section is nonsense. Firstly, these ideas were mentioned only once in the SI journal, and never developed. The only time they appear is in "Open Creation and its enemies," IS5: "we find that the question is posed of inventing a situlogy, a situgraphy and perhaps even a situmetry beyond existing topological knowledge." (As far as I can find, Situgraphology is a term the SI *never* used, and has been invented purely for this article. Try googling it.) And if you read this quote, you can see there isn't an actual concept proposed there, just the suggestion that they might one day invent such a concept. These ideas were propositions alongside many others which appeared early in the SI's time which didn't go anywhere. They're very far from central ideas. Moreover, Asger Jorn was not the "main" theorist of the SI. And isn't regarded as so in any of the criticla literature. The title might, albeit debatably, applied to Debord. The article already describes Debord as "The most prominent French member of the group." Jorn's ideas as described above (which weren't even a major part of his own writing, as this shows, never mind that of the SI as a whole) were anything but cental to the SI's critiques of urbanism and capitalism. So the paragraph as a whole verges on nonense. Which is why I removed it.

I - who is the person who claims to have made the substantial edit - clearly, wishes to fill the article with their own innovations, instead of remaining fastitidious in reproducing the theory of the situationists themselves in all their originality. Obviously this is not acceptable.Harrypotter 20:30, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

The edit was actually intended to return the article to actually accounting for the SI's ideas directly, as it was originally most about post or pro-SI ideas.

1, Jorn was the ONLY theorist of the SI - the others were poets, psychogeographers, polemicists, propogandists - but NONE of the SI applied a scientific method like Jorn.
2, This article is called SITUATIONIST not SI or IS and so the question ios not of the group but the movement - which includes the 2nd Internatinal, the Antinational, etc.
3, It is impossible to 'return' this article to 'actual accounting' for 'ideas directly' - or to anything for that matter, as it is a collaborative effort - not just words carved into a headstone. 15:19, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
This debate is somewhat pretentious and silly. To venerate Jorn as the mastermind "ONLY theorist" of the SI is ridiculous. Jorn applied scientific methods to producing artistic elements invovled, influencing, and influenced by the work of the SI as a whole. One cannot assert Jorn as the only theorist by referencing a passing fascination with mathemmatics. Any critical evaluation of the activity and work of the SI would find Debord at the center of theoretical work of the group, but even if his central place is ignored, referencing and greatly expanding on the theoretical ideas of great thinkers and writers like Lukacs, Marx, Nietzsche, etc. is more than enough to suggest Debord's place as a theorist. This debate is worthless and seems like petty squabbling worthy of a good ol' situationist-stalinist style purge. Additionally, the Situationist Internationale and only the first Internationale not the splinter fragment groups in Scandinavia is the central group credited with the theoretical and political activity associated with "situationism" (a disgusting term). The other groups such as the 2nd International and the Antinational should be referenced in their own topic area using a "Level 2 Headline" and should not be clouded or lumped along with the activities of the original Situationist Internationale (the one that purged, squabbled, dissolved, and made some of the most original contributions to socio-political theory in the last fifty years.) On another note, this is the great thing about Wikipedia, we type away at our keyboards squabbling about how to write and what to include in an article about an elusive group and a complicated idea meant to achieve liberation in a simple form. So, I salute the in-fighting and hope that this article is benefitted by it. I also propose that additions to the page be made that are coherrent and readable (unlike a lot of situationist texts), and that deletions be discussed and modified before they are carried out. Anything less would be tantamount to graffiti (though some of the best philosophy is simple graffiti).Y.Pestis 10:34, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

There's an issue here that the 'controversial' section on 'Situgraphy,' keeps getting put back / removed / put back. I've said all I feel is necessarry on it's removal above (it's multiple factual inaccuracies), and the other fellow has given a very rhetorical justification typed mostly in capitals, so perhaps some wider consensus decision could be made to close the matter, otherwise the section will just be reinserted /removed again and again. A 'SEE ALSO' reference on Jorn has also been added, presumably by the same person, to the section on 'the situation,' but it just leads to a stub which is a rather unhelpful quote. 15:37, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

Derived meaniings of situationist

In your 2006 edit you added that

the term 'situationist' was often used to refer to any rebel or outsider, rather than to a body of surrealist-inspired Marxist critical theory.

I was just about to add a similar sentence. Do you know any source that mentions this? I didn't find it in two of the bibliography items you added, while I couldn't find a searcheable copy of Simon Ford's The Situationist International: A User's Guide.--Sum (talk) 21:27, 9 May 2010 (UTC)

gruppe spur

The second situ international was not founded "as" gruppe spur; spur (as correctly noted in the SPUR entry) existed prior to its short affiliation w/the (1st)SI. My impression is that SPUR quit/were expelled from the SI after the French section did not support themmm when their journal was siezed as "degenerate art," and that tensions between artistic and political tendencies in the original group led to the split, with the Scandanavian sections, associated w/Jorgen Nash (Asgar Jorn's brother), forming the second SI w/ the Germans of SPUR and opening the Situationist Bauhaus. My recent research into the SI has led me to info on this "other" SI (the split of course being a more or less conscious parody of the Bakunin/Marx split in the Workingman's Internationale).

It is interesting to note references that Jorn funded all of these groups at the same time... The "vandalism" tag should be explained as referring to his founding of the Institute for Comparative Vandalism.
I do not feel qualified to edit the article myself, but offer these suggestions in the spirit of avoiding working on my final projects for school. oops!

See also

I probably have to defend adding CrimethInc to the "see also" list... a friend just said "crimethinc and the like pretty much just peddle a thirteenth-generation teenie version of it. (the situationist international)"

The most prominent member of the group, Guy Debord, has tended to polarise opinion.

What is this supposed to mean? Sounds a bit arbitrary and maybe biased? I'm not completely familiar with Debord, but I don't know if I'd used this phrasing to describe him... Maybe some clarification?

"The most prominent member of the group, Guy Debord, has tended to polarise opinion given his agressively polemical style and his autocratic leadership of the group, with multiple exclusions of other members."

Separate question:

Is there any relation between 'the Situation' as described here and 'the Situation' that figures so prominently in Paul Scott's Raj Quartet?

Ross Hunt

No, I don't think so. Some critics connect it to Satre's series of 'situations' books, though no one has written much on the connection, and it's probably quite superficial.


I think another aspect of recuperation is that of the working class movement being channeled into unions. This is a perfect example of the spectacle taking something dangerous and integrating it so it ends up strengthening itself.

That would be a pretty difficult argument to make. Unions are vastly different in character. Are we talking about the AFL, or the IWW? Unions themselves are not recuperation, in fact I think that is absurd, but the legitimization of them in the US - with many strings attached - is. --Kelt65 20:22, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

See Also section has too many links

Sex Pistols

I have removed every link related to the Sex Pistols you can see the difference here: [1]

All of them have been added by the same person: [2]

Please somebody tell me what has the Sex Pistols band, basist Sid Vicious, singer Johnny Rotten and manager Malcolm McLaren have to with the Sitautionists.

--Cacuija (my talk) 19:15, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

well Jamie Reid was connected with the situationist movement, and he visually defined the sex pistols in an visual art way, he used his situationist ideas in this art which was part of one of the most influencial bands in history(britian at least) and most people who know a lot about punk and its beliefs can 'see' and some identify with situationist ideas. so thats what i think any comments? --Snowy Mcintosh 20:32, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

Too many links

I think we should reduce the numbers of links in teh see also sections and limit that only to important writers, groups and facts that are very close to Situationism. i think things like: International Workingmen's Association (the First International) has little and nothing to do with it. I will work on the a new list and post here whatever change i make,

Thanks, --Cacuija (my talk) 19:15, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

I deleted the links to "Anarchy, a journal of desire armed" and "No Logo" because they're not really that directly connected to the history, theory, or contemporary critique of situationist thought. I like both works but this doesn't need to be an advertisement for radical reading with some weak connection to the article.Y.Pestis 10:55, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Not Anarchist

As the situationists were not anarchists, we should not have that horrible @. Harrypotter 22:46, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

--While I agree that any direct reference or labeling of the Situationist as anarchist would be ridiculous, their theories and works had much more in common with anarchism than Marxism (though Debord might see this differently). Also, situationist theory and historical activity has had a profound impact on contemporary anarchist thought, association, and action and the connection must be discussed in this article. Finally, to call the anarchist symbol (I'm assuming you mean the encircled "A" although there are hundreds of "anarchist symbols") "disgusting" shows a complete lack of knowledge of anarchism or anarchist history. Put down the Debord for a while and you'll have a better appreciation for the connections between the theories of the situationists (derrived from personal reflection and a rich understanding of other philosophies including strands of anarchism) and the historical/theoretical works of other important writers such as Mikhail Bakunin, Max Stirner, Nietzsche, and yes, even Murray Bookchin and the CrimethInc. (ex) Workers Collective.Y.Pestis 10:43, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Is Henry Miller an influence or influenced by this movement? 00:11, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

I've replaced "Socialist Bloc" with "Eastern Bloc". They link to the same page, but I've never heard it refered to as the former, and the political system operated doesn't sync with the standard European understanding of the word 'socialist' (i.e. democratic socialist or social democrat). There seems to be something of a tendency on Wikipedia to refer to as 'socialist' what would normally be called 'Communist' or 'Soviet'. This isn't helpful on a factual level, and tarnishes democratic socialism by association. 04:00, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

Recent edits

I really appreciate the new edits to the opening paragraph which were inserted by drastically improves that whole paragraph and makes it much more accurate. --Charles 04:20, 3 May 2006 (UTC)

I am sorry to disagree. It is completely confused. What are the "parallels with Marxism, Dadaism, Existentialism, Anti-consumerism, Punk, Anarchism"? True it did apply dialectical method, but in a different way to Marxism, and it consciously reproduced elements of Dadaism. There were references to The Durrutti Column, but they did not endorse anarchism, practicing a very tight form of political centralism - except for some of teh Scandinavian Sits. As for existentialism, there is no indication they were ever influenced by Heidigger. They were anti-consumerist but that is not a parallel. They were very different from the diffuse counter-cultural phenomenon of punk. The previous version was much more "accurate": The Situationist International (SI) was a very small group of far-left, international, political and artistic agitators with roots in Marxism and the early twentieth century European artistic avant garde. Formed in 1957, the SI was active in Europe through the 1960s and had aspirations for major social and political transformations. The SI disbanded in 1972.[1] What reason is there not to revert to this?Harrypotter 20:52, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

Your right, I agree, that's a great opening sentence, but it is wrong and a disservice to exclude the connections of situationist thought to anarchism and existentialism. If you read the work of the SI they constantly aped or pre-empted the theories of anarchists, marxists, and even existentialist. Their connections to anarchism and their impact on shaping post-left, poststructuralist, and postmodern (or whatever qualification you prefer)is enormous and worthy of discussion. I am preparing some additions to this article in these sections and I've done quite a bit of research about the development of contemporary anarchist thought and the links to situationist theory. I do agree that punk doesn't have a place here, although the connection between punk and "situationism" is an interesting and deep one, it belongs somewhere else, not here. Oh, and you spelled "Heidegger" wrong. Y.Pestis 10:52, 19 August 2006 (UTC)


This discussion page is drastically in need of cleanup. It is an indecipherable mess, and not at all helpful.--Charles 04:22, 3 May 2006 (UTC)

I went ahead and archived the particularly old discussions (ca. 2003). Cleans it up well enough, I guess. And hopefully the big ugly notice will get people to sign their comments more often. --Philodespotos 22:08, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

Some Neocon or rightwinger with an 'agenda' had changed the opening paragraph to 'discredit' situationism. It was changed to read:

...was a very small group of far-left, international, political, and artistic agitators with roots in Marxism and the early twentieth century European artistic avant garde.

Bill O'Reily could not have written a better opening sentence. 'Far-left' is a favorite 'buzzword' of Fox (Faux) News.

I have now restored the opening paragraph to its previous state via a Google cached image. I do not have time to restore the hyperlinks in the opening sentence. If someone else has the time, please do so. The notion that anarchism and punk have nothing to do with situationism is completely ridiculous and any further debate in regards to this matter is an utter waste of time.


It's perhaps most historically accurate to note the influence goes one way. The SI were Marxists, and were regularly dismissive of anarchism. (for example theses 92-94 of Debord's Society of the Spectacle) However, owing to the SI's self-mythologisation, and the media attention they garnered (in concert with the lack of translations of their texts at the time beyond one or two select texts) 'situationist' came to be a signifier in the 60s and 70s of any rebel or outcast, rather than a specific body of marxist thought, and was associated with anarchism by other groups (for example, the Rebel Worker group in the US). In the 80s and 90s, some prominent anarchist theorists, mostly in the US, took on situationist ideas whilst simultaneously attempting to divorce them from their Marxist roots (for example, Bob Black or Hakim Bey).

As regards punk rock, the connection is more in this diffuse, secondary sense of 'situationists' as rebels, rather than as coherent Marxist theorists. Jamie Reid aped the graphical style sometimes employed by the SI, Malcolm McLaren also employed stylistic turns and phrases for the Sex Pistols which were first used by pro-SI groups (for example, the English group King Mob). The links aren't very substantial, historically, and claims of real links between them mostly owe to the 'thematic' and stylistic links made in retrospect by Greil Marcus in his book 'Lipstick Traces,' which also connects the Sex Pistols to the Dadaists and medieval millenial heretics.


Also there is some excellent historical information here: How Black is Black Metal? that perhaps needs to be 'incorporated' before it is 'assimilated.' Thanks.


Do you think it might be possible to discuss the merits of a particular edit without resorting to childish namecalling and paranoid delusions?

Oh, right. This is Wikipedia. Sorry. For a second there, I thought we were all adults.

That's quite absurd! Ever good situationist or pro-situationist always resorts to childish namecalling and paranoid delusions, the problem is that such behavior must be supported by contribution and correction.Y.Pestis 10:46, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Debord Quote

I've altered the Debord quote that was provided in the section describing "Spectacular society." As far as I can tell, it is not a direct quote, but a reordering of various lines from Society of the Spectacle. The first sentence is #4 from the book, the second is the final line of #2, and the final sentence is immediately preceding #2. While it may make more sense in the order it is provided here, I don't think it's legitimate to molest a quote in this fashion. I've reduced the quote to only the first line, which is the full text of #4, and thereafter provided the line beginning with "The spectacle in general...," since the following paragraph relies upon it. What is now the first quote should possibly be moved elsewhere. If anyone objects, feel free to revert or otherwise undo my changes.

Generally, I'm wondering if this is the proper page for an analysis of the spectacle. I'm only acquainted with the SI through Debord and Vaneigem, so if anyone with more experience could comment on how integral it is to the rest of the theory, I'd appreciate it. At this point, I think 'the spectacle' probably deserves a separate entry, with a disambig from spectacle. --Philodespotos 21:45, 30 May 2006 (UTC)