Reificação e linguagem em André Breton e Guy Debord Reification and language in André Breton and Guy Debord

by Fortaleza de, João Emiliano

Abstract (Summary)
This thesis discusses the reflections on language proposed by André Breton (1896-1966) and Guy Debord (1931-1994), in which aesthetics and social criticism are inseparable. Based on ethical and existential contents present in the modern French poetry, the reflections on language, in Breton?s theory and in the surrealism, seek for a criticism of the instrumental concept of language, which is inseparable from the criticism of ?logic? and of the ?absolute rationalism?. Under such terms, there exists in Breton?s a critical reflection on certain social phenomena which, according to the hypothesis here considered, correspond to Marx?s category of reification. In these reflections, the ethical horizon of his social criticism is supported by his concept of profondeurs de l?esprit (depths of the spirit), which names a subjective interiority and manifests itself in the category of expression, understood as a ?linguistic?-poetical and existential mode of negation of the exterior reified world and of the transformation of language into an alienated interchange. Assuming and trying to theoretically surpass the modernist and avant-garde horizon of the expression, Debord criticizes the pseudocommunication of the existent society and establishes the relationship between the search for a direct communication and the programme of the transformation of everyday life, already announced by the dadaists and the surrealists. This way, he intends to develop a reflection on the historical experience of the modern art and of the vanguards of the beginning of the 20th century. This reflection is, at the same time, centred on the language issue and based on Marx?s criticism of value, and of which, close to and in disruption with that experience, proceeds a critical theory of the developed capitalism in La societé du spetacle (The Society of the Spectacle). In regard to this purpose, the present work is oriented by the hypothesis that the reflection on language and the criticism of the commodity fetishism, in Debord?s theory, are inseparable aspects of a one and the same point of departure of the tardy capitalist criticism of sociability, centred on the language criticism and commodity form. The main concept of this reflection is that of langage commun (common language) as a normative reference of the present criticism. In connection with the surrealism and with other modern artistic experiences, Debord sets out his view on a transition, concerning the horizon of the aesthetic and the social reflection on language, and of the expression concept to that of communication or dialogue. He seeks to compile, maintain and surpass the critical characteristic of the uncommunicative expression (and, therefore, refractory to the pseudocommunication of the bourgeois society), as it was conceived and experienced by the modern art and the vanguards of the beginning of the 20th century, formulating the critical and existential perspective of communication. This communicative horizon, thus, presents itself, as a perspective on behalf of which the criticism of society is made, based on the fetishistic production of value. With this same gesture, to the ?surpassing of art? and to the ?achievement of poetry?, pursued by the surrealism and by the vanguards of the beginning of the last century, a new content is added: if the modern poetical expression was a denunciation of the reified, pseudocommunicative and even anti-communicative language, it is because, as stated by Debord, this denunciation aimed at a new, authentic and free communication
This document abstract is also available in Portuguese.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Jeanne-marie Gagnebin

School:Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo

School Location:Brazil

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:Language Reification


Date of Publication:04/19/2005

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