"Spectacle is an object of study in social science because it has properties that enable elites to close opportunities for input from below, but without making the masses feel left out. As Lisa Wedeen noted in her excellent analysis of the cult of Assad in Syria, political spectacles also “help to foreclose possibilities for political thought and action, making it hard either to imagine or enact a truly democratic politics.” Spectacle monopolizes discourse by privileging the definition of truth and reality belonging to the elites and by using technology such as the mass media to create a one-way flow of communication, speech without response, which isn’t really communication at all. In silencing response, spectacle turns its participants into spectators. Clear examples from U.S. society are the national conventions of the Republican and Democratic Parties, which are contrived to feel like events where candidates are being chosen and the party platform is being shaped by delegates. In reality, for the last several decades, these things have been decided in advance and the convention is an opportunity to reward and motivate party activists, while getting a very carefully crafted message out to the voting public via the television broadcast. These kinds of spectacles enchant and persuade, and their audiences feel included without feeling responsible for action." (3)
Adams, Laura L. The Spectacular State : Culture and National Identity in Uzbekistan Politics, History, and Culture. Durham: Duke University Press, 2010.