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, symbolism about sex and the body, and the relations between economic exchange and 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 Exc
Arguing that a political economy predicted on commodity value has long since been replaced by the political economy of the sign, Baudrillard traces the hyperrealist consequences of the "end of production" through chapters focusing on fashion, the body and death. The seeming inevitability of the triumph of the "semiotic" commodity over "symbolic" (gift) exchange is shown to be an error perpetrated by Marxist theory, which has itself been absorbed into "the code" that governs the transformation of value. Baudrillard's intention is to defeat the code by turning its own logic against it, inverting Marx, Freud, and finally Saussure in an effort to abolish "value" itself. His analysis is carried along on its own rhetorical force... achieves extraordinary insight into the malaise pervading late-capitalist societies. -- Choice Baudrillard has a warm glow of nostalgia about his earlier work. He claims it is "the last book that inspired any confidence". If the newly translated Symbolic Exchange and Death had been available earlier, the perception of Baudrillard as a postmodernist playboy might have been different. It bridges the gap between his early serious work and the later funny work. -- The Modern Review Baudrillard's most widely admired text, or at least, as he himself once wryly observed, "the last book that inspired any confidence".... For anyone seeking a way into Baudrillard's highly inventive, uncompromising, and occasionally maddening oeuvre, Symbolic Exchange and Death is still one of the best places from which to start. -- Radical Philosophy Without doubt Baudrillard's most important book. -- Mike Gane This is easily Baudrillard's most important work. It is a key intervention in the debates on modernity and postmodernity and the site of his postmodern turn. Anyone who wants to understand the complexity and provocativeness of Baudrillard's richest period must read this text. -- Douglas Kellner
Series: Theory, Culture & Society, Vol 26
Number Of Pages: 272
Published: 1st October 1993
Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 24.13 x 16.51
Weight (kg): 0.52