Raoul Vaneigem

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VANIEGEM, RAUOUL (1935-) Belgian situationist. His Revolution of Everyday Life (1967) is one of the classics of situationism, alongside Debord's Society of the Spectacle (1967).

Much less philosophically abstract and closer to the anarchist tradition than Debord. Vaneigem predicts a revolution in everyday life that will be brought about by a spontaneous explosion of poetic creativity and the founding of a small self-governing communities that will unleash a free human creativity.

His vision of poetic creativity is strongly influenced by the tradition of Dada; in Vaniegem's view, riots and vandalism are forms of spontaneous poetry.

His vision of sexual revolution is decidedly prefeminist and owes a lot to Reich's views of the emancipatory function of the orgasm.

His commends on the manner in which advertisements influence consumers through a mechanism of interpellation are intriguingly similar to Althusser's these on ideology.

Vaneigem's polemical denunciation of the society of the spectacle comprises a powerful and often witty description of the kaleidoscopic flow of signs which, by using the mechanism of interpellation, transforms individuals into actors who play out alienating roles.

The function of the ideological, artistic and cultural spectacle is to transform the wolves of spontaneity into the sphepards of knowledge and beauty.

Although he broke with what was left of the Situationist International in 1972, Vaneigem continues to write in a recognizably situationist style (1995).


A similar notion of interpellation can be found in Vaneigem's contribution to the theory of situationism (1967).

Confronted by the flow of signs and images that cosntitute Debord's 'society of the spectacle', individuals are constantly interpellated by posters, advertisements and stereotypes offering universal images in which they are invited to recognize themselves.

The function of interpellation is to block spontaneous creativity.

Whether or not there is any direct connection between the two notions of interpellation remains unclear.

See Also