Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Extra Credit - Chiasmus from Society of the Spectacle

The Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord
Chapter 2: “The Commodity as Spectacle”

41. “It was at that point that political economy established itself
as the dominant science, and as the science of domination.

 The “point” this chiasmus refers to is the Industrial Revolution which infiltrated every aspect of 18th century society with its technological advancements. Viewing the Industrial Revolution through the Marxist lens, we can see how the 18th century became the pivotal moment when political economy developed as a dominant science, but also how capitalism dominated the global economy thereafter. Political economy can be viewed as a science of domination because capitalism essentially exploits the worker, so that the price of the freedom of supply and demand comes at the expense of the producer. The chiasmus is invoked for ironic purposes—transforming the positive connotation of “dominant science” into the more negative connotation of “science of domination.”


Erick Berrios said...

Thank you for the explanation on the chiasmus from "Society of the Spectacle". I did not pay particular attention to the quote when I first read the text, but now reading it a second time, it is indeed very interesting.

Jo Hodaly said...

Nice example of chiasmus! My only question is in regards to your last statement. Do you think Debord's chiasmus is ironic? Rather than read "dominant science," wouldn't it--in the larger context of The Society of the Spectacle--be a double negative? Does a "dominant science" necessarily connote something positive? "Dominant" denotes the balance of power, and doesn't suggest anything positive about it. Both ends of the chiasmus seem to suggest it as anti-humanist.