1.8 Definitions


Translated by Ian Thompson, August 2015. Proofread and Edited by  Mehdi el H.

constructed situation

A moment of life concretely and deliberately constructed through the collective organization of a unitary ambience and a play of events.[1]


That which relates to the theory or practical activity of a construction of situations. He who applies himself to the construction of situations. A member of the Situationist International.


Meaningless word improperly derived from the preceding term. There is no [such thing as] Situationism [2], which would signify a theory of the interpretation of existing facts. The concept of Situationism is obviously devised by anti-situationists.


Study of the precise effects of the geographical milieu,whether consciously arranged or not, acting directly on emotional behaviours


That which relates to psychogeography, and which expresses the geographic environment’s direct action on emotional behaviour [3].


One who researches and conveys psychogeographic facts.


Mode of experimental behaviour linked to the conditions of urban society: a technique of hastily passing through varied ambiences. Also used, more specifically, to refer to an unbroken period engaged in this experimental behaviour [4].

unitary urbanism

Theory of the holistic use of arts and techniques, united in the complete construction of an environment in dynamic relationship with experiments in behaviour.


An abbreviation of: “détournement of prefabricated aesthetic elements.” The integration of current or past works of art in a superior construction of an environment. In this sense there can be no Situationist painting or music, but [only] a Situationist use of those means. In a more crude sense, within the old cultural spheres, détournement is used as a technique of propaganda, which bears witness to the weakening and loss of importance of these spheres.


Mirror image and foreshadowing, in each historical moment, of the possibilities of the organisation of everyday life; a complex of the aesthetic, of feelings and mores, through which a community reacts to the life that is objectively produced by its economy. (We are defining this term only from the perspective of creating values, not from that of teaching them.)


Process by which traditional cultural forms have destroyed themselves, as a result of the emergence of better means of ruling nature, making superior cultural constructions both possible and necessary. An active phase of decomposition, – the effective demolition of the old superstructures (which ended around 1930) – must be distinguished from a repetition phase, which has prevailed since. The delay in the transition from decomposition to new constructions is linked to the delay in the revolutionary annihilation of capitalism.

As this new translation was being produced, I cross-referenced it to an existing translation made by Ken Knabb available on-line here. I would like to acknowledge the work done by Ken Knabb, and the real assistance his translation provided to me. However all final decisions (for better or worse – which is for the reader to decide) in this translation are mine alone. 

[1] “un jeu d’événements” – the literal translation has been used, the meaning is akin to “a series of events”, or perhaps “an interplay of events”.

[2] “Il n’y a pas de situationnisme” – literally “There is no Situationism”

[3] “sur l’affectivité” – literally “on the affectivity” (Eng: “affective” adj. 1. Influenced by or resulting from the emotions. 2. Concerned with or arousing feelings or emotions; emotional.) 

[4] “la durée d’un exercice continu de cette expérience” – literally “the length of time of an unbroken exercise of this experimentation”