Régis Debray – Revolution in the Revolution (1967)


“In the ’60s, Regis Debray fought beside Che Guevara in Bolivia. Today, his obsession isn’t ideology- it’s ‘mediology.’ Twenty-seven years ago, French radical theoretician Régis Debray was sentenced by a Bolivian military tribunal to 30 years in jail. He had been captured with the guerrilla band led by Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, Fidel Castro’s legendary lieutenant. Released after three years, largely because of the intervention of compatriots such as President Charles de Gaulle, André Malraux, and Jean-Paul Sartre, Debray returned to writing. (His 1967 Revolution in the Revolution is considered a primer for guerrilla insurrection.) He spent five years in the early ’80s as a special advisor on Latin American relations to French President François Mitterrand. Creating a discipline he calls ‘mediology,’ Debray has investigated how it is that abstract ideas can end up as world-changing ideologies. Today, he is developing a new theory of the transmission of ideas through history, to grasp how words become flesh, ideas ideologies. Wired tracked him down in Paris to find out more about the brave new science of mediology. … Wired: ‘Mediology’ sounds like a mix of media and semiology. What does it really stand for? Debray: My starting point was a sense of intellectual astonishment at the mysterious fact that certain signs, certain words and images, get transformed into acts. The parables of Jesus of Nazareth, for example, were reworked by St. Paul into a body of beliefs known as Christianity. The writings of Karl Marx were transformed into a far-reaching political program by Lenin. Powerful ideas need intermediaries. Then I began to realize that these systems of belief – ideologies as we used to call them – are also part and parcel of the material delivery systems by which they are transmitted: if a book like Das Kapital had an influence, then it was because the technologies of print, the networks of distribution, and libraries worked together to create a fertile milieu – what I call a ‘mediosphere’ – for its operation. …”
WIRED
W – Régis Debray
W – Mediology
[PDF] Revolution in the Revolution
amazon: Revolution in the Revolution

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