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1. America (New Edition)
2. Simulacra and Simulation (The
3. The Conspiracy of Art
4. Seduction (Culturetexts)
5. Impossible Exchange
6. Amérique
7. The System of Objects (Radical
8. Simulations (Foreign Agents Series)
9. De la seduction (L'Espace critique)
10. La transparence du mal: Essai
11. Fatal Strategies (Semiotext(e)
12. The Intelligence of Evil or the
13. The Mirror of Production
14. Jean Baudrillard: From Marxism
15. Jean Baudrillard: Fatal Theories
16. L'Ange de stuc (Ecritures-figures)
17. Symbolic Exchange and Death (Published
18. Miroir de La Production, Le (French
19. The Agony of Power (Semiotext(e)
20. Baudrillard's Bestiary: Baudrillard

1. America (New Edition)
by Jean Baudrillard
Paperback: 160 Pages (2010-09-20)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$11.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 184467682X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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France’s leading philosopher of postmodernism takes to the freeways in a collection of traveller’s tales from the land of hyperreality.From the sierras of New Mexico to the streets of New York and LA by night—"a sort of luminous, geometric, incandescent immensity"—Baudrillard mixes aperçus and observations with a wicked sense of fun to provide a unique insight into the country that dominates our world. In this new edition, leading cultural critic and novelist Geoff Dyer offers a thoughtful and perceptive take on the continued resonance of Baudrillard’s America ... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Perspective
I really enjoyed this book. Jean Baudrillard is well known in the relevant academic circles for saying that America's way of life is so representative of a pure simulacrum that places like Disneyland exist for the sole purpose of distracting Americans (and, indeed, the world) from the fact that ALL of America is, in fact, Disneyland. This book is an elaboration of that concept. Baudrillard see the American aesthetic as represented most purely by its deserts, timeless and sublime concretions of inertial movements whose cause has long passed. Baudrillard's America is also a cinema without borders, whose lack of European-style social theatrics is nevertheless compensated for by a natural, naïve and almost primitive penchant for living the very essence of virtuality: sunny California lives awash in an endless profusion of signs, carrying out its frenzied enthusiasms, and yet careens ever forward without any stable referent to speak of. But none of this, he insists, is a bad thing; the singular quality that makes America so powerful, he says, and makes it work so well beyond the fetters of Europrean intellectualism, is its die-hard extroversion, its propensity for realizing its thoughts and plans as models with which it builds its utopian way of life, oblivious to Europe's endless grappling with the 19th century quandaries of ideology and history.

4-0 out of 5 stars Baudrillard's Great Prose Poem
Since his recent death, there has been a lot of Baudrillard bashing in the media. He is variously written off as a "comedian of ideas," as obscurantist, as saying everything about nothing and nothing about everything. Indeed, these are claims that can be said to be true of French cultural discourse in general, but they are actually inaccurate when used to describe Baudrillard, who really did have interesting and important things to say about culture. His prose is difficult; there is no denying that. But then so is Heidegger, Immanuel Kant, Oswald Spengler, etc. Would it be wise to characterize these men as having nothing important to say because of the difficulty involved in working through their dense prose? Of course not. While Baudrillard is neither as profound nor, ultimately, as insightful as these other philosophers--and this is generally true of French thought as opposed to German thought, despite what your English professors would have you believe--he is witty and entertaining.

America provides the novice with a good in-road to his thinking, since Baudrillard is more relaxed and informal in these meditations upon what, after all, is a very informal land, indeed. The interesting thing about this book is that Baudrillard's attitude toward American culture--and this is certainly atypical of the average Euro thinker--is not condescending. This is a Frenchman (for a change) who is genuinely fascinated by America and its kitschy world of movie screens, parking lots, freeways, strip malls and airports. What fascinates him, in particular, as he writes in his chapter on "Utopia Achieved," is how American society represents such a radical break with history. It is an achieved utopia that has fled from the nightmare of world history and managed to succeed in erecting a civilization in which that very history is denied and largely ignored. Thus, the ahistorical cities of the American Southwest, and L.A. in particular, are places where events with inward cultural significance no longer take place. Instead, it is a world in which history has been replaced by historical simulacra in theme parks like Disneyland or the Getty Museum or Venice Beach. No more history, Baudrillard insists, means no more culture. America is just an endless horizontal expanse of kitsch and hyperreal meaninglessness utterly devoid of significance. And yet he does not mean this derisively, as a typical Euro thinker would. He is fascinated by the boldness and insolence of this attempt to achieve a paradise on earth in which history has been rendered obsolete. Bookstores, coffee shops, museums: that is Old World; shopping malls, theme parks, and theme towns like Las Vegas; that is the New. And Baudrillard is utterly taken by it all. He admits the shallowness of American culture, and then turns around and embraces it for exactly what it is. Americans, he says, are at their worst when they try to duplicate European high culture with their insipid California wines and their all-encompassing museums. They are better off, he says, with their roller coasters and their Hollywood movies. That, after all, is what is original in the world today.

Ultimately, then, Baudrillard's very readable book is a celebration of American culture. And, in many ways, it is an introduction to Americans of their own world, since those who are submerged in a particular environment cannot see that very environment due to its disappearance into banality. It takes an outsider to help us see ourselves anew, for only an outsider (or an artist) is capable of holding up the mirror to reveal ourselves as we really are.

In short, this is a great place to start if you have never read Baudrillard. It is highly readable and very well written. But Baudrillard is always read best as a kind of prose poet, not a true philosopher. People who claim not to be able to understand him are trying, as it were, too hard to understand him. His prose is best read as poetry, and America is best understood as a prose poem about the historyless civilization of the New World.
--John David Ebert,
author of Celluloid Heroes & Mechanical Dragons: Film as the Mythology of Electronic Society

5-0 out of 5 stars Sharp and poetic
If some of the reviewers could forgive Baudrillard for being French, they might be able to see his razor sharp eye and lucid thoughts. Baudrillard acknowledges America for what it is, and although at times may seem critical, he seems to love it in his own way. One of the best books on the subject by one of the most brilliant thinkers.

5-0 out of 5 stars A simply amazing read
This book was an incredible read! The extremely spatial nature of the text unfolds throughout each line, disclosing a thought process that is evolving as much, if not more than incredible journey you are taken on as Baudrillard manifest a vision of a nowaday hyperreality. Sculptural, sci-fi, timeless and visionary!

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent stylist and amazingly insightful!
You got a love a Frenchman who drinks whiskey!This is a 'light' book for Baudrillard, very much like his passion for photography, and these essays, though at times almost frighteningly piercing and insightful, are only snapshots of New York, California, Utah and the Nevada desert.Baudrillard comes face to face with his entire theory of the Simulacra in America and, though he dreads much of it, he has the courage to acknowledge that America is the future and that 'Old Europe', (another term like the 'matrix' that he uses years ahead of everyone else), even part of Old Europe worth saving, is dead and, or dying.There are some hilarious passages in here as well, the section on the strangeness of Salt Lake City architecture and topography and the 'mutants' that live there, being one of them.Essentially, according to Baudrillard, we Americans, prefiguring the rest of the planet, are all mutants living in a land with no real past, present or future, with no real ideology, convictions or perceptions of where exactly we are in the universe.According to Baudrillard we are America as moving picture, as cinema, as air-conditioned somnambulists sliding down our sanitized grocery ailes and freeways, obeying no moral code or ideology, but the code of capitalsit signs and symbols, of advertising, as objectified and commodified as the objects we purchase.Baudrillard, whiskey in hand, shows us America as hyperreality fait accompli.He is the most important writer writing today whose use of metaphor and satire topples any current novelist or poet.It makes perfect sense that his books are just now, 15 years ex post facto, being translated into English.15 years later and his theories proven true his ideas are still too strong, too painful, for most people to get their head and heart around.Awesome stuff. ... Read more

2. Simulacra and Simulation (The Body, In Theory: Histories of Cultural Materialism)
by Jean Baudrillard
Paperback: 164 Pages (1995-02-15)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$10.90
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Asin: 0472065211
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The first full-length translation in English of an essential work of postmodernist thought.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (36)

5-0 out of 5 stars The hyperconformist simulation of pure non meaning.
Read some angry philosophy and check out the alleged inspiration for the matrix??

There is more information in our world but it has increasingly less meaning. This book defines us what we are "Disaffected but saturated." ...."All virtual modes of expression into advertising." We have reached the level of "absolute advertising". The advertisers have developed "neutral equivalent rhetoric".

"To the demand of being a subject he opposes, just as
obstinately, and efficaciously, an object's resistance, that is to say,
exactly the opposite: childishness, hyperconformism, total dependence,
passivity, idiocy. "

It is topics like this that probably made this book interesting to the men who created the movie the Matrix although I believe the author said that the matrix had nothing to do with his book which is interesting in itself.

The part that stayed with me is Baudrillard 's comment on the film Apocalypse NowTheSimulacra and Simulation the was the power of that fantastic film.Apocalypse Nowwas such a fantastic spectacle that the power of special effects is so bewildering it shifts the focus of the war to a simulated event.

Ballered mentions "The Matrix"

"The Father and the Mother have disappeared, not in the service of an aleatory liberty of the subject, but in the service of a matrix called code. No more mother, no more father: a matrix.
My favorite line of the book!!The Destroyer of Intensities Advertising, therefore, like information: destroyer of intensities, accelerator of inertia.

"Artifices of meaning and non-meaning repeated in it without lassitude."

And worse and even more fake the advent of cloning.

"Cloning is thus the last stage of the history and modeling of the body , the one at which reduced to its abstract and genetic formula, the individual is destined for serial propagation."

"Pure non meaning."

1-0 out of 5 stars muddled writing
I read this based on the Matrix series, I suspect like most.While some of the under lying ideas were decent, I thought the writing style was painful and made reading longer than necessary.The writing style could be blamed on the translation, but never less it was a bit muddled.

5-0 out of 5 stars MA(t)R(i)X : Not Sci-Fi, Post-Marxist
I read this little book years ago as part of my grad studies. It is amazing to me how accurate many of Baudrillard's observations have proven to be. It's as if he were some kind of Prophet (LOL!). But, seriously, the loss of Reality is embodied in many different ways. Our use of the Internet is the number one example. Many forms of Virtual reality such as Reality TV, Chatrooms, Avatars, Online dating, even the Fashion industry qualify.

As for Desert of the Real, let me give you this example: Just 2 weeks ago I arranged a flight and never had to make any contact with anyone. I ordered my ticket online, printed it out, took it to a self-check-in machine, punched in my numbers, got a boarding pass, and walked on the plane. I have to admit I missed the human contact. But such is the post-Modern condition. Of course, there were people on the plane, but no individual attention, only contact as a group. Another example: Video games, email, Demographics, credit cards and direct deposit, Hollywood (originator of the Virtual), Celebrity culture (ex: Why is it that when they use certain people in a commercial they include the phrase "Real people, not actors"? Aren't actors real?), Paparrazzi, the Digital revolution. I could go on listing the many Virtual worlds we inhabit, but suffice it to say they are self-generating!

If you plan on reading this book, do yourself a favor and forget the Matrix (great movie, though). This is very real, Hyper-Real. Read Marxist ideology and some Existentialist "Being and Nothingness" Sartre, after reading Plato and Kant, and you wont be so put off by the big ideas. Baudrillard describes a world based on economic relationships only, and as such it is a system of objects, based on nothing but Material gains. To many this describes an impoverished system, morally bankrupt and soulless. Baudrillard is suspicious and critical of Capitalist Democracies and Socialism. He sometimes implies that Anarchy is the only way out of this Technocratic Police State we have so far evolved into.

In this scenario the invisible ruling class controls the masses with its House of Mirrors. Baudrillard seems to be saying we either join the Dance of the Marionettes, revel in our liscentious artificiality or smash the Glass House, being careful enough to move out of the way of the falling shards. Shiva must be allowed his Dance of Destruction before Vishnu can be born again to save the world, sayeth Brahma. But even such an allusion to an Ancient religion crumbles in the face of the Hyper-Real.

It is our physical connections to our bodies that we must not negate, negotiate, or re-imagine (but, we do). And that is the exchange-value for our status within this system of objects. It is also the original site of our Loss. Only a jarring blow to the body can wake us from our complacent complicity in doing violence to the Real. Violence is as real as it gets. Do damage to a physical body and there will be a reaction. Do violence to the State as a body and you partake in the Virtual discourse that is Politics.

If only I could truly understand all the delicious ironies and nuances in the French language. Bad translations are all we deserve. Great writing, forever misread, generates even more writing, cleverly said. I suspect the French don't truly want to be translated by the English, but that is an old war and I've always been the paranoid sort.
Not really as dense as many would have you believe. Blinded by the Light is more like it. Keep reading.

3-0 out of 5 stars Caveat emptor(s):
1. The first two chapters are more or less verbatim permutations of his 'Simulations', which this reviewer finds more substantial, though this book contains a few elaborations that are left aching for in Simulations. In every other respect, the first two chapters say little that Baudrillard had not already accomplished in previous publications in greater depth. The possible advantage herein could be lie in that the less extensive use of Semiotical and Marxist concepts may make this more accessible. But this assumes the utility of accessibility. Elsewise, the Semiotext(e) translation of 'Simulations' was more than adequate, you may just want to start there.

2. This text will likely be indecipherable jabberwocky to anyone not acquainted with Semiology and economics. Furthermore, if these thing bore or otherwise hold no relevance to one, there is no real point in reading any of Baudrillard unless one is in possession of a patience willing to wade through some genre specific terminology and verbiage to get some cultural and social analysis out of it; those critiques stand on their own for the most part.

3. The Matrix: low relevance to the film, his earlier writings are more radical.

4. Baudrillard has little reverence for the institutions of Socialism and Democracy, reading this may infuriate or otherwise cause a lapse of faith in those deus ex machinas.

4-0 out of 5 stars surprising
Fell into this straight away, Used to reading similar but find it hard to read heavy theory, this was surprisingly easy to read, although some of the ideas are extreme, a lot can be taken from them and i look forward to reading every last word. truly tasty ... Read more

3. The Conspiracy of Art
by Jean Baudrillard
Paperback: 247 Pages (2005-09-01)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$10.23
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Asin: 1584350288
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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The images from Abu Ghraib are as murderous for America as those of the World Trade Center in flames. The whole West is contained in the burst of sadistic laughter of the American soldiers, as it is behind the construction of the Israeli wall. This is where the truth of these images lies. Truth, but not veracity. As virtual as the war itself, their specific violence adds to the specific violence of the war.

In The Conspiracy of Art, Baudrillard questions the privilege attached to art by its practitioners. Art has lost all desire for illusion: feeding back endlessly into itself, it has turned its own vanishment into an art unto itself. Far from lamenting the "end of art," Baudrillard celebrates art's new function within the process of insider-trading. Spiraling from aesthetic nullity to commercial frenzy, art has become transaesthetic, like society as a whole.

Conceived and edited by life-long Baudrillard collaborator Sylvère Lotringer, The Conspiracy of Art presents Baudrillard's writings on art in a complicitous dance with politics, economics, and media. Culminating with "War Porn," a scathing analysis of the spectacular images from Abu Ghraib prison as a new genre of reality TV, the book folds back on itself to question the very nature of radical thought. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars A brilliant leftist flake
Baudrillard is a brilliant theorist - but his conclusions are usually just more Leftist drivel that don't follow from his analyses.

He's a perfect example of the Left's fundamentally self-destructive nature. They have done everything they can to doom themselves to irrelevance.

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2-0 out of 5 stars Before you read it, it makes sense
I always thought that Baudrillard's ideas were interesting. I always thought that they were an interesting way to look at certain issues, a new lens of sorts. However, upon reading this book, I finally understood Baudrillard and as a result found his theory to be inane. Baudrillard makes a lot of sense before you really read the evidence (oh, wait he doesn't use evidence) or rather analysis he provides.

The first problem that I found with the book is its utter lack of defining terms. If a reader has not read Simulations and Simulacra, then this book would be completely unaccessible. However, Baudrillard just throws terms around, seemingly knowing the definition himself, but withholding it from the reader. Words like 'event' come to mind. Actually 'null' is also strangely ambiguous in this book. The 1970s seemed to pass over Baudrillard and this was written as though post-structuralism never happened (was that an event). So what does this come down to? A lot of Baudrillard's criticism is then nothing more than a linguistic problem... He says that a certain thing happens as a result of art, but then that is just a word, an undefined floating signifier that leaves me, and probably will leave you, uncertain as to what is the worth of anything written.

Another gripe that I have is the sequence of the articles and interviews. (Actually I think many of the interviews could have been left out entirely, since many interviews were nothing more than the interviewers massaging Baudrillard's late-inflated ego.) Some of the essays make absolutely no sense until later essays are read. It seems as though they were thrown together randomly or perhaps intentionally in the most incomprehensible way possible.

At the end of the day, I thought Baudrillard was cool. I thought his ideas were interesting, but upon reading this book I really lost faith. It isn't that I think that Baudrillard's ideas are irrelevant to current discourses, but rather that the analysis he provides is often questionable and so against the laws of logic and rationality. His ideas are interesting if you take them and attempt to formulate them into your own worldview, but otherwise I can't say that this conspiracy of an assertion-fest is worth reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars Baudrillard vs. Art = entertaining and informative
This is a fascinating collection of some of Baudrillard's most polemical writings on art. He freely admits in one of the interviews within that he is, by no means, an art expert. He doesn't appreciate it and he doesn't necessarily *like* it. He does respect traditional/classical art's beauty and importance. This positions him in an excellent place to offer remarkably disinterested observations. He's not partial to any one movement, any one school, or any one artist (with the possible exception of Andy Warhol) and he pulls no punches in his critique of the meaninglessness of contemporary art.

It is important to note that Baudrillard is NOT an art hater. From his interviews and from other writings, I get the impression that art is simply "not his thing". I believe this is a positive factor because he isn't required to tip-toe around issues for fear of being rejected by the art community, a community he is happy to avoid altogether.

As a student of contemporary art, and as a contemporary artist myself, I don't always agree with Baudrillard, at least to the extent that he goes. In his essay, "The Conspiracy of Art", he tends to make sweeping generalizations. Such is the format of his polemic - a brief essay. Had he developed these ideas in a longer format, I'm sure some points would be smoothed by further explanation and clarification. Fortunately, this book includes and number of interviews where he explains some of his points and gets a chance to defend himself against his many critics.

I believe this text would be most useful to any student of contemporary art. Baudrillard does raise many important issues, even if his conclusions are questionable. Even if you hate every word, it's at least an amusing read. I've always enjoyed his style. It's very conversational - a welcome relief from reading the prolix, convoluted texts of Deleuze and Lacan. He is clear, cogent, and concise.

5-0 out of 5 stars Baudrillard sees the Emperor naked again
Contemporary "art" endlessing pleasing itself with how "clever" it is - how "important" it is - how "valuable" it is. Baudrillard sees through it all and offers some great critiques. Again, to some he may seem the seer of the obvious but others put up great resistance to his ideas because it destroys their privileged, little cozy world. The film Zoolander does much the same thing with its hilarious send-up of the "fashion" world - the "Derelique" campaign, turning the "look" of homeless people into the latest haute-couture. The fashion world is a conspiracy and so is the contemporary art world. The commodification of the banal - the banal world turned into "brilliant" concepts by art stuporstars. I think Baudrillard would agree with Hansel in Zoolander when he says: "Derelique" my balls. ... Read more

4. Seduction (Culturetexts)
by Jean Baudrillard
Paperback: 192 Pages (1991-01-15)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$8.12
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Asin: 0312052944
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Examines modern critical theory, feminism, and psychoanalysis, and discusses the modern concept of sex roles and the political aspect of human sexuality.
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Seducing Book
In this book, Baudrillard develops his own theory in various fields from sex, Freud, Kierkegaard, to politics in the theme of gseductionh. Probably, this book is written to be seduction. At the same time, we cansee Baudrillardfs general attitude toward his works including this book:Prediction, warning, and seduction. He seems to learn a lot of things fromKierkegaardfs works. In the first part, he maintains his own theory on sexagainst Freud, which is different from feministsf theory based on sexualdifference. It is interesting that he almost predicts todayfs situation ofsex, which is why his works always seduce people. Moreover, I am impressedby his comments on Japanese striptease and by his idea that Japanese sexualculture is different from Western one. Through chapters, his point thatseduction is fatal to itself appears continuously in his skillful rhetoric:The style of this book is similar to his gSimulacra and Simulationh,which is a good guidebook to read this book. ... Read more

5. Impossible Exchange
by Jean Baudrillard
Paperback: 160 Pages (2001-12)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$7.08
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Asin: 1859843492
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Everything starts out from impossible exchange. The uncertainty of the world lies in the fact that it has no equivalent anywhere; it cannot be exchanged for anything. The uncertainty of thought lies in the fact that it cannot be exchanged either for truth or for reality. Jean Baudrillard's now familiar investigations into reality and hyper-reality shift here into a more metaphysical frame. Working his way through the various spheres and systems of everyday life—the political, the juridical, the economical, the aesthetic, the biological, among others—he finds that they are all characterized by the same non-equivalence, and hence the same eccentricity. Literally, they have no meaning outside themselves and cannot be exchanged for anything. Politics is laden with signs and meanings, but seen from the outside it has no meaning. Schemes for genetic experimentation and investigation are becoming infinitely ramified, and the more ramified they become the more the crucial question is left unanswered: who rules over life, who rules over death? Baudrillard's conclusion is that the true formula of contemporary nihilism lies here: the nihilism of value itself. This is our fate, and from this stem both the happiest and the most baleful consequences. This book might be said to be the exploration, first, of the 'fateful' consequences, and subsequently—by a poetic transference of situation—of the fortunate, happy consequences of impossible exchange. ... Read more

6. Amérique
by Jean Baudrillard
Paperback: 203 Pages (2000-12-06)
-- used & new: US$72.98
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Asin: 2844460232
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7. The System of Objects (Radical Thinkers)
by Jean Baudrillard
Paperback: 224 Pages (2006-01-17)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$7.90
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Asin: 1844670538
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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A cultural critique of the commodity in consumer society, The System of Objectsis a tour de force – a theoretical letter-in-a-bottle tossed into theocean in 1968, which brilliantly communicates to us all the live ideasof the day.

Pressing Freudian and Saussurean categories into the service of a basically Marxist perspective, The System of Objects offersa cultural critique of the commodity in consumer society. Baudrillardclassifies the everyday objects of the “new technical order” asfunctional, nonfunctional and metafunctional. He contrasts “modern” and“traditional” functional objects, subjecting home furnishing andinterior design to a celebrated semiological analysis. His treatment ofnonfunctional or “marginal” objects focuses on antiques and thepsychology of collecting, while the metafunctional category extends tothe useless, the aberrant and even the “schizofunctional.” Finally,Baudrillard deals at length with the implications of credit andadvertising for the commodification of everyday life.

The System of Objectsis a tour de force of the materialist semiotics of the earlyBaudrillard, who emerges in retrospect as something of a lightning rodfor all the live ideas of the day: Bataille's political economy of“expenditure” and Mauss's theory of the gift; Reisman's lonely crowdand the “technological society” of Jacques Ellul; the structuralism ofRoland Barthes in The System of Fashion; Henri Lefebvre's workon the social construction of space; and last, but not least, GuyDebord's situationist critique of the spectacle.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Every Industrial Designer or related designer should read this!
Very mind-boggling key points on the shifts in our material culture of before industrialization and after. Even though some passages as aforementioned were confusing because of those loaded sentences caused by translation, this is a must-read. There are some very well-stated thoughts on the shortcomings of industrialization which I was delighted to discover. There are also some analysis on color in mass-production and this and that which were enlightening. This book is half prose involving observations of societal changes, and half persuasive reasoning with theory and proof.

I wish more industrial/product designers could read this book. I agree with the point about how the gesture of an action is missing from many of our functional objects. The myth of the functional object was interesting to think about. As a Sculptor, it helped me question my role as a maker in this era.

4-0 out of 5 stars Essays on Color and on Warhol
Hardly seems to have been written in 1968 (Year of publication) the writing still relevant. I especially
appreciated the essays on Warhol and contemporary art in general, and the interview in which the author clarifies some of his most extreme published statements. (I've only read about half of this book so far)

5-0 out of 5 stars :D nice book
It's really a nice book...
everyone should get one lol

3-0 out of 5 stars keen insights within a cloud of pompous prose
Baudrillard's SYSTEM OF OBJECTS stands as a landmark... the first book by one of France's leading men of letters, an astute social critic (and deconstructionist?!critical theorist?!).The author discusses the roles objects play in our lives, from mirrors to automobiles to furniture.He dissects the role and purpose of credit (in the late 1960's; his ideas about the expansion of credit purchasing are humorous in hindsight). Author devotes sections to gadgets, gizmos, and robots.

Some of OBJECTS' highlights:a discussion of why the rich and other status seekers acquire old things, a critique of collectors and their motivations ("everything that cannot be invested in human relationships is invested in objects."), and a commendable exegesis of the personalization of cars (since the 1970s this critique could be expanded to houses).In addition the section on credit is juicy:"the credit system is the acme of man's irresponsibility to himself."

Should I credit the translator with handling a difficult text well?I can't say.I don't read French (at least not on Baudrillard's level).However, the reader is left with some of the most pompous and opaque prose.Nothing is stated simply.Example:"In the love relationship the tendency to break the object down into discrete details in accordance with a perverse autoerotic system is slowed by the living unity of the other person."Another:"We may thus trace functional mythologies, born of technics itself, all the way to a sort of fatality in which the world-mastering technology seems to crystallize in the form of an inverse and threatening purpose."Here's a favorite:"Thus freed from practical functions and from the human gestural system, forms become purely relative with respect both to one another and to the space to which they lend 'rhythm.' "

These overwrought and ridiculous passages would be humorous, but they impede the reader's understanding of the text. Various worthwhile statements pepper the book throughout, which could be condensed into a sort of "famous quotes by Baudrillard," perhaps as captions in a book of photographs, a coffee-table book.I recommend this currentlynonexistent product.Until its creation, we must be partially satisfied by SYSTEM OF OBJECTS.

Ken Miller

4-0 out of 5 stars Rewarding 1968 analysis of psycho-sociology of consumption
Some contemporary French philosophy is a fascinating and invigorating mix of psychology, sociology, semiotics and, dare one say it, poetry. In the English speaking world, Marshall McLuhan is probably the philosopher whose style is most similar to this first, 1968, book by the now well known Jean Baudrillard.

What is the book about? In a sense it is about the meaning of low tech everyday objects, and thus it is also about the psycho-sociology of our technology. Take mirrors, for example, which were frankly disappearing as an element of interior decoration when Baudrillard wrote his book. Yet for years, mirrors were an important fixture of well-to-do bourgeois interiors; they were opulent, expensive objects which in Baudrillard's words permitted "...the self-indulgent bourgeois
individual to exercise his privilege --reproduce his own image and revel in his possessions". Family portraits and photographs represent diachronic mirrors of the family, and thus played a similar narcissistic role in decoration. Baudrillard analyses clocks, lighting, glass, seating, antiques and the drive to automate and miniaturize gadgets and tools, and always comes up with provocative, sometimes maddening, insights into modern society and one's place in it --and after all what is philosophy
for but to make you think?

There is a brilliant and probably timeless exploration of the passion of collecting and leads up nicely to what the bulk of the book is devoted to:the study of systems of objects (one of the main chapters is aptly titled "The Socio-Ideological System of Objects and Their Consumption"). What do we yearn to express through technology? What is it it that fascinates us about robots? Why is there such a proliferation of automatism, accessory features, inessential features to the point where
an object's dysfunctions are as important as its functions? Baudrillard acknowledges his debt to some of Lewis Mumford's ideas, and deplores with him that too often we try to solve problems by building a machine (perhaps nowadays we would tend to develop software, or in Baudrillard's terms simulate) and thus not onlyfall wide of the mark but also reveal clear signs of social ineptitude and paralysis. Fashion, consumption, technology are intertwined themes in modern society, feeding off each other and leading to a world that is at once systematized, fragile and baroque, in the sense that the proliferation of forms seems to be more important than mining for substance. It is interesting to compare some of these insights with a more recent book by another French philosopher, Gilles Lipovetsky, on fashion in modern societies ("The empire of the ephemeral", 1987).

The book ends by looking at the role credit and advertising play in the consumption of systems of objects, and thus completes what the book's jacket indicates is"a cultural critique of the commodity in consumer society". Baudrillard is a humanist critic of technology and consumer society and uses psychoanalytical ideas as weapons to grapple with his subject. The book is by turns, infuriating, keen, stimulating but in the end one feels that, curiously, it lacks a certain depth; it plays with
mirrors and is content with catching the light and obtaining the occasional blinding flash; but sometimes that the criticisms seem a little too one-sided or perhaps I simply prefer more constructive criticism. Still, the book is a tour-de-force, and I feel that the translator, James Benedict, did a fine job with a difficult text. ... Read more

8. Simulations (Foreign Agents Series)
by Jean Baudrillard
Paperback: 159 Pages (1983-01-01)
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Asin: 0936756020
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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one of postmod's founding texts, tr various hands ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Difficult reading, but interesting insights (sometimes swallowed up by verbiage)
Jean Baudrillard, postmodern thinker, despairs; he claims, in "Forget Foucault," that there is an "impossibility of any politics" in our current situation.An important part of this context are media simulations, of reality so obscured by the play of images completely unrelated to any "reality" which might be out there that we are hopelessly incapable of arriving at any judgments on which to base political decisions and actions.Images on television and in the movies and in other media are "floating signifiers," having no real connection to concrete referents.The key concept associated with Baudrillard is simulations and the simulacrum.He begins by quoting Ecclesiastes: "The simulacrum is never that which conceals the truth--it is the truth that conceals that there is none.The simulacrum is true"(by the way, this quotation may be a simulacrum; I could not find it in Ecclesiastes!). Simulations began historically as replicas of the real, as reflections of "reality."However, with time, simulations have become increasingly detached from concrete "real" references.Simulations do not have reference points or substance or any tie to "reality."Simulations have become "a real without origin or reality"--a hyperreal.We face a procession of images and simulations, and lose sight of the simple fact that they are "floating signifiers."The simulacra become real for us.

Put in post-structural (or postmodern) terms, the models created are floating signifiers (simulations in Baudrillard's terms) which structure people's discourse with one another and shape their behavior.Images become crucial in politics.After presidential debates or major policy speeches or elections, the "spin patrol" gets going.These are the spokespersons of the parties or candidates who try to convince the audience that their simulations of the event are better than their opponents' simulations.In the process, no one particularly cares whatactually happened or what was said.It is the simulations pushed by the various actors that become the news.

Baudrillard's writing is challenging; many will write him off as an unreadable crank.Nonetheless, the underlying concept of the simulacrum is fascinating and generates much reflection.This is a postmodern work that may actually speak to some real world issues. . . .

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book, bad edition.
A very interesting read on the nature of reality. Baudrillard has a wonderful way of shuffling your thinking that can only be understood by reading his work first hand. I highly recommend this work, but I would suggest buying a different edition; the Semiotext edition fell to pieces the first time I read it. ... Read more

9. De la seduction (L'Espace critique) (French Edition)
by Jean Baudrillard
Paperback: 248 Pages (1979)
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Asin: 2718601523
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10. La transparence du mal: Essai sur les phenomenes extremes (Collection L'Espace critique) (French Edition)
by Jean Baudrillard
Hardcover: 179 Pages (1990)
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Asin: 2718603631
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11. Fatal Strategies (Semiotext(e) / Foreign Agents)
by Jean Baudrillard
Paperback: 230 Pages (2008-04-30)
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When Fatal Strategies was first published in French in 1983, it represented a turning point for Jean Baudrillard: an utterly original, and for many readers, utterly bizarre book that offered a theory as proliferative, ecstatic, and hallucinatory as the postmodern world it endeavored to describe. Arguing against the predetermined outcomes of dialectical thought with his renowned, wry, ambivalent passion, with this volume Jean Baudrillard mounted an attack against the "false problems" posed by Western philosophy. If his Marxist days were firmly behind him, Baudrillard here indicated that metaphysics had also gone the way of sociology and politics: the contemporary world demanded nothing less than Pataphysics, Alfred Jarry's absurdist philosophy that described the laws of the universe supplementary to this one. In effect, with Fatal Strategies, Baudrillard became Baudrillard.

In his extrapolationist manner, Baudrillard sought to replace Western philosophy's circular arguments with a ritualistic Theater of Cruelty. Using this line of thought developed in Fatal Strategies, Baudrillard went on, throughout the 1980s, to find new and shatteringly accurate ways of discussing American corporatocracy, arms build-up, and hostage taking. Fatal Strategies asserts a profound critique of American politics, and it is an important step towards his examination of evil. ... Read more

12. The Intelligence of Evil or the Lucidity Pact (Talking Images)
by Jean Baudrillard
Paperback: 208 Pages (2005-12-01)
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Asin: 1845203348
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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There are few philosophers today cool enough to be referenced in the Matrix, interesting enough to be mentioned on Six Feet Under, and popular enough to get over 400,000 hits on Google. Jean Baudrillard has succeeded in all of this and more. Now, in his latest book, Baudrillard presents his most popular themes symbolic exchange, hyper-reality, technology and warand applies them to the current global conflict between the West and the Rest, including Islam. Ultimately, it is not simply about the war against terror but about the bigger picture of capitalism versus everything else. This book serves as the summation of Baudrillards work over the last 20 years and is the essential analysis of the fundamental conflict of our time. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars One of Baudrillard's Best Books
For anyone casting about for a place to begin with Baudrillard, this might be a good place to start. It is a sort of summing up of his main themes, and the curious reader who has heard about such things as 'simulacra,' 'virtual reality,' 'integral reality,' and the like can rest assured that he will find Baudrillard discoursing here upon the themes which made him most famous.

Is there enough room, Baudrillard asks, for both the world and its (virtual) double? As we attempt to seal the world shut beneath a dome of virtuality that attempts to eliminate all forms of noise and chaos, the inherent evil in the world continually resists this Western sanitization in the form of accidents, crashes, terrorist violence and natural disasters. The attempt to virtualize the world is simultaneously an attempt to eliminate all forms of evil from it, but Baudrillard seems fairly confident that this will never happen. A complete sealing shut of the world behind a dome of virtuality can never be a success since evil is part of the very nature of the world that is in process of being cloned. To clone the world is also to clone its evil.

Baudrillard is at his best when discoursing upon the death of the spectator or the effects of electronic technology upon society, but he is less effective in his discussions of ethics and evil. The reader constantly finds himself fighting the urge to categorize Baudrillard as Manichean, but this is a myth that is too radically certain of itself to fit comfortably within Baudrillard's nihilism, with its decentered and ironic gaze. At times, though, one suspects Baudrillard of being a closet mystic. Wouldn't THAT be a wonderful irony! At the root of all his sceptical perspectives would lie an urge to be free of Western culture forms and to dissolve himself into the white radiance of a non-existent certainty.

--John David Ebert, author of Celluloid Heroes & Mechanical Dragons: Film as the Mythology of Electronic Society

5-0 out of 5 stars Read no Evil ...
Gotta give it for France for bringing so many heavyweights in the Postmodern ring of thoughts. Baudrillard is something of a post-Marxist academic gone wild, hitting you from every angle, slowly decentering the virtual world of the subject into the ritualistic world of objects. A must-read, Worth the time deciphering through the countless paradoxes and hints of esoterism.

3-0 out of 5 stars Standard fare
This review is admittedly brief and frankly only directed at those familiar with Baudrillard's work, since it's not really possible to buy the argument of The Intelligence of Evil without having bought the notion of the Impossible Exchange. That being said, the editor's word "summation" to describe this work in relation to Baudrillard's career is a little flattering--nothing significantly new appears here, and the kinds of things Baudrillard tends to say are fairly derivative of standard polemics a la Nietzsche, Bataille, Marcuse, and so on. Baudrillard once complained that no one describes his work as being 'serious', even when he thinks there are philosophically serious things in his works. One wonders why he feels entitled to that description when nothing in his writing invites the kind of attitude he thinks should be taken to his work. It is one thing to be philosophical and quite another to do philosophy. At best Baudrillard qualifies for the former since nothing about the way he writes could pass for 'philosophy', even if one is not particularly wedded to an Anglo-American idea of what 'philosophy' should be (as I am not myself). His paragraphs are at times provocative, but rambling and more often than not vague. The translator calls Baudrillard's work "philosophical analyses of current events in the best Deleuzian fashion", which again is a little flattering--Deleuze and Guattari's Capitalism and Schizophrenia 1 and 2 are incomparable with regard to the intellectual and philosophical challenge they present to the reader, regardless of whether or not one finds their arguments any more or less compelling than Baudrillard's. Baudrillard's jargon and terminology simply have nowhere near the rigor or historical depth of many of his compatriots.

The title 'The Intelligence of Evil or the Lucidity Pact' relies on a Platonic reading of a line from Adorno (strange in itself!): "It is no longer a question of a thought critical of reality, but of a subversion of reality in its principle, in its very self-evidence. The greater the positivity, the more violent is the--possibly silent--denial. ... But this denial does not lead to hope, as Adorno would have it: 'Hope, as it emerges from reality by struggling against it to deny it, is the only manifestation of lucidity.' Whether for good or for ill, this is not true. Hope, if we were still to have it, would be hope for intelligence--for insight into--good. Now, what we have left is intelligence of evil, that is to say, not intelligence of a critical reality, but of a reality that has become unreal by dint of positivity, that has become speculative by dint of simulation." (I read Baudrillard's reading of negation and transcendence as Platonic in this context.) In other words, Baudrillard is rehashing comments about hyperreality in Simulacra and Simulation or the kinds of things said by any number of social critics since Simmel, Marx, and Nietzsche that talk about the outstripping of the subject by the objective world. (Incidentally, Baudrillard's conception of the dual illusion of subjectivity and objectivity is one that I find incoherent with other criticisms he gives about the failure of transcendence and the loss of reality.) As for the "pact" part of "the lucidity pact", this relies on a distinction between a "pact" and "contract" which is interesting, but undeveloped.

Regardless of Baudrillard's work as a whole, what I really wanted to say about this work in particular is simply that it's only really useful either for those who have already read others of Baudrillard's works or those who are tired of (in my opinion) better social critics saying much the same thing about the loss of reality (the other theorists with whom Baudrillard aligns himself, such as Zizek and Agamben, seem to have more understandable criteria for knowing when we are actually experiencing reality) and/or ungrounding the war on terror. The motive is admirable even if the execution is not. ... Read more

13. The Mirror of Production
by Jean Baudrillard
Paperback: 167 Pages (1975-06-01)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$15.00
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Asin: 0914386069
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Are the concepts of labor and of production adaptable to a developing industrial society? What is the meaning of "pre-industrial organization"? In attempting to answer these questions, Jean Baudrillard examines the lessons of Marxism, which has created a productivist model and a fetishism of labor. He argues that we must break the mirror of production, which "reflects all of Western metaphysics," and free the Marxist logic from the restrictive context of political economy whence it was born. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars A good book
Needed the book for grad school.It was in good shape and easy to navigate.

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for Marxist theorists
Baudrillard's book Mirror of Production reworks neo-Marxist theory and expands/critiques various concepts of such thinkers as Kristeva, Althusser, and makes a strong case outlining numerous misreadings of Marx, as well as providing a useful deconstruction of Marx's concept of use-value. An essential text for Marxist theory in the twenty-first century.

4-0 out of 5 stars An Interesting book
An interesting book, that provides a new perspective on our western idea of "progress" and how this myth is constructed and maintained around the world ... Read more

14. Jean Baudrillard: From Marxism to Postmodernism and Beyond (Key Contemporary Thinkers)
by Douglas Kellner
Paperback: 246 Pages (1990-01)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$256.38
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Asin: 0804717575
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Critical but excellent
Kellner is highly critical of Baudrillard's turn from Marxist/political solutions to a kind of techno-nihilism but the book is a great review and analysis of Baudrillard's work; it is much easier to read this book with many passages from Baudrillard's own writings with Kellner's critical but complete commentaries than to read some of the horribly translated works of Baudrillard out there.Baudrillard read's more like a sci-fi dystopian at times-his theory of the code and his use of the term Matrix (pre-movie) is very interesting stuff.This is a great introduction to a cutting edge philosophy that provocatively analyzes our current capitalistic and media saturated society.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not for the unprepared
This is a dense book, not for casual reading. Presumably the readeralready knows something about Baudrillard or wants to learn about him andthe general point of view he represents, viz. post-structuralism. The bookdoesn't function well as an introduction to either Baudrillard orpost-structuralism.Considerable background in these subjects is assumedby the author who makes few concessions to the unintiated. To readers morefamiliar with French social theory, Kellner's commentary is rewarding,particularly the final summing-up chapter, which contextualizespersuasively the arc of Baudrillard's intellectual career. Marxism entersas the stubborn persistense of a socio- material realm increasingly ignoredin that arc and to its detriment. On balance, I believe Kellner treats thesometimes maddening hyperbole in a fair-minded manner, though a moreconcrete exposition of the promising ideas surrounding `sign exchange'would better illustrate Baudrillard's early appeal which does seem tosuffer at book's end. This is not a book for the unprepared. ... Read more

15. Jean Baudrillard: Fatal Theories (International Library of Sociology)
 Paperback: 224 Pages (2010-09-24)
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Jean Baudrillard was one of the most influential, radical, and visionary thinkers of our age. His ideas have had a profound bearing on countless fields, from art and politics to science and technology. Once hailed as the high priest of postmodernity, Baudrillard’s sophisticated theoretical analyses far surpass such simplistic caricatures. Bringing together Baudrillard’s most accomplished and perceptive commentators, this book assesses his legacy for the twenty-first century. It includes two outstanding essays by Baudrillard: a remarkable, previously unpublished work entitled ‘The vanishing point of communication,’ and one of Baudrillard’s final texts, ‘On disappearance’, a veritable tour de force that serves as a culmination of his theoretical trajectory and a provocation to a new generation of thinkers. Employing Baudrillard’s key concepts, such as simulation, disappearance, and symbolic exchange, and deploying his most radical strategies, such as escalation, seduction, and fatality, the volume’s contributors offer a series of thought-provoking analyses of everything from art to politics, and from laughter to terror. It will be essential reading for anyone concerned with the fate of the world in the new millennium.

... Read more

16. L'Ange de stuc (Ecritures-figures) (French Edition)
by Jean Baudrillard
 Paperback: Pages (1978)
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17. Symbolic Exchange and Death (Published in association with Theory, Culture & Society)
by Professor Jean Baudrillard
Paperback: 254 Pages (1993-12-07)
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Asin: 0803983999
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Jean Baudrillard is one of the most celebrated and most controversial of contemporary social theorists. This major work, appearing in English for the first time, occupies a central place in the rethinking of the humanities and social sciences around the idea of postmodernism.

It leads the reader on an exhilarating tour encompassing the end of Marxism, the enchantment of fashion, the body and sex, economic versus symbolic exchange and their differing effects on the rituals of death. Most significantly, the book represents Baudrillard's fullest elaboration of the concept of the three orders of the simulacra, defining the historical passage from production to reproduction to simulation.

A classic in its field, Symbolic Exchange and Death is a key source for the redefinition of contemporary social thought. Baudrillard's critical gaze appraises social theories as diverse as cybernetics, ethnography, psychoanalysis, feminism, marxism, communications theory and semiotics.

This edition, translated by Iain Hamilton Grant, includes an introduction by Mike Gane and a bibliography of Baudrillard's works.

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5-0 out of 5 stars Recommended introduction to an important cultural theorist
Jean Baudrillard has an insatiable desire to stay ahead of the game, to push things further and further. Symbolic Exchange and Death, written in 1976 but surprisingly not translated in English until 1993, is a key text because it sets out in challenging but relatively clear terms Baudrillard's radical approach before his more recent period based upon `fatal strategies' which travels into the ethereal and obscure. Symbolic Exchange and Death fundamentally operates as a genealogy of our dominant system of political economy and the underlying spectre of a pre-existing Symbolic Order. This involves a catastrophic challenge to Marxian and Freudian thought and traditional social approaches. It develops the earlier works of Michel Foucault and phenomenologists such as R.D. Laing to a more radical stance which begins to turn many widely accepted beliefs on their head. It also demonstrates that Baudrillard is not at all the high priest of postmodernism as was thought in the latter part of the 1980s but is a relentless poststructuralist. Despite Baudrillard's own later consignment of the work to a bygone era of dialecticism, Symbolic Exchange and Death, twenty five years on still retains an explosive potency. Fascinating, controversial and unputdownable - will inevitably draw readers to explore the author's other works. ... Read more

18. Miroir de La Production, Le (French Edition)
by Jean Baudrillard
Mass Market Paperback: 124 Pages (1997-02)
list price: US$31.85
Isbn: 2253941883
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19. The Agony of Power (Semiotext(e) / Intervention)
by Jean Baudrillard
Paperback: 88 Pages (2010-10-31)
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Asin: 158435092X
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History that repeats itself turns to farce. But a farce that repeats itself ends up making a history.
—from The Agony of Power

In these previously unpublished manuscripts written just before his death in 2007, Jean Baudrillard takes a last crack at the bewildering situation currently facing us as we exit the system of "domination" (based on alienation, revolt, revolution) and enter a world of generalized "hegemony" in which everyone becomes both hostage and accomplice of the global market. But in the free-form market of political and sexual liberation, as the possibility of revolution (and our understanding of it) dissipates, Baudrillard sees the hegemonic process as only beginning. Once expelled, negativity returns from within ourselves as an antagonistic force—most vividly in the phenomenon of terrorism, but also as irony, mockery, and the symbolic liquidation of all human values. This is the dimension of hegemony marked by an unbridled circulation—of capital, goods, information, or manufactured history—that is bringing the very concept of exchange to an end and pushing capital beyond its limits: to the point at which it destroys the conditions of its own existence. In the system of hegemony, the alienated, the oppressed, and the colonized find themselves on the side of the system that holds them hostage. In this paradoxical moment in which history has turned to farce, domination itself may appear to have been a lesser evil.

This book gathers together two essays—"The Agony of Power" and "From Domination to Hegemony"—and a related interview with Baudrillard from 2005, "The Roots of Evil." Semiotext(e) launched Baudrillard into English back in the early 1980s; now, as our media and information infested "ultra-reality" finally catches up with his theory, Semiotext(e) offers The Agony of Power, Baudrillard's unsettling coda.

Intervention Series
Distributed for Semiotext(e)
... Read more

20. Baudrillard's Bestiary: Baudrillard and Culture
by Mike Gane
Paperback: 192 Pages (1991-11-22)
list price: US$53.95 -- used & new: US$42.28
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Asin: 0415063078
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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This book provides an introduction to Baudrillard's cultural theory: the conception of modernity and the complex process of simulation. It examines his literary essays: his confrontation with Calvino , Styron, Ballard and Borges. It offers a coherent account of Baudrillard's theory of cultural ambience, and the culture of consumer society. And it provides an introduction to Baudrillard's fiction theory, and the analysis of transpolitical figures. The book also includes an interesting and provocative comparison of Baudrillard's powerful essay against the modernist Pompidou Centre in Paris and Frederic Jameson's analysis of the Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles. An interpretation of this encounter leads to the presentation of a very different Baudrillard from that which figures in contemporary debates on postmodernism. ... Read more

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4-0 out of 5 stars A good Introduction to Baudrillard
Baudrillardfs works are very difficult to understand for ordinary readers who do not know much about him because his description is very rhetorical and constitutes his own view of the world and his style is very differentfrom general theses or essays. This book is appropriate for people who wantto know the elements of Baudrillardfs thoughts since it explains hisstrategy, view of the world, and main idea, gsimulationh. Each chapter istitled key word in Baudrillardfs discussions such as gTechnology andcultureh, gThe rigours of consumer societyh, gFrom production toreproductionh, and gModernity, simulation, and the hyperrealh. We canknow how he has developed his theory in various fields. Especially, thisbook approaches his works both synchronically and diachronically, which isvery helpful because his themes in works have always changed. Generallyspeaking, this book is written in plain English and the constitution isvery good as an introductory book. ... Read more

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