- Subject index
`Ross Abbinnett brings a keen and subtle philosophical mind to bear on themes and debates that have become commonplace in sociology. This is a sinuously written book which casts new light on pressing contemporary issues. It is required reading for everyone who wants to think seriously and with an open mind about the terrain of the present' - Keith Tester, Professor of Sociology, University of Portsmouth This incisive and timely book provides a concise and reliable guide to the debate on modernity and postmodernity. In particular the work of Lyotard, Beck, Bauman, Baudrillard, Giddens, Jameson and Derrida is critically reviewed. Culture and Identity provides: a thorough and accessible discussion of the main themes in the modernity-postmodernity debate; a shrewd and penetrating account of how these themes address everyday life; a novel account of how technology is altering our perceptions of the `human'; and a balanced account of the hope for radical politics and radical critique to correct the excesses of capitalism. What emerges most forcefully from the book is the error of dismissing postmodernism as a self-indulgent and ultimately, dangerous piece of ideology. Abbinnett provides a pertinent reminder of the continuing importance of the themes and challenges raised in the `postmodern moment'.
Chapter 3: Baudrillard: Media and Simulation
Baudrillard: Media and Simulation
In the Introduction I attempted to specify the terms through which modernist critical theory has engaged with the claims of postmodernism. I argued that it is possible to discern a number of common features in Jurgen Habermas, David Harvey and Frederic Jameson's accounts of the emergence and development of postmodernist thought: namely, the aesthetcization of social and economic relations; the loss of any structural, epistemic or ontological determination of truth; the collapse of moral and ethical criteria into an undecidable play relativity; and the reduction of the political to a mere simulation of collective responsibility. I also claimed that this representation is characterized by a dismissiveness which is both instructive and theoretically unsatisfactory – avoiding, as it does, ...