`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'.

Information, Simulation and the ‘Silent Majorities’

Information, simulation and the ‘silent majorities’


In this chapter I will look at Jean Baudrillard's account of simulation and its relationship to both Marxist and postmodernist economies of culture, identity and community. In particular, I will examine the ‘evil possibility’ determined in Baudrillard's writing: namely, that in our media-saturated world, the image (simulacrum) has supplanted the real, and that the ethical, political and aesthetic configurations of experience have exceeded any reference to what is not already included in the economy of simulation. Specifically, then, I will cover the following issues:

  • the relationship between the image and the referent presented in Baudrillard's essay ‘The precession of simulacra’;
  • the collapse of ‘the real’ (sex, love, class conflict, socialism) into the ‘weightless’ play of images ...
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