This comprehensive book provides an indispensable introduction to the most significant figures in contemporary social theory. Grounded strongly in the European tradition, the profiles include Michel Foucault, J[um]urgen Habermas, Roland Barthes, Jean Baudrillard, Pierre Bourdieu, Zygmunt Bauman, Martin Heidegger, Frederic Jameson, Richard Rorty, Nancy Chodorow, Anthony Giddens, Stuart Hall, Luce Irigaray and Donna Haraway. In guiding students through the key figures in an accessible and authoritative fashion, the book provides detailed accounts of the development of the work of major social theorists and charts the relationship between different traditions of social, cultural and political thought.

Jean Baudrillard

Jean Baudrillard

Jean Baudrillard

Biographical Details and Theoretical Context

Jean Baudrillard, born in July 1929, is still very actively engaged in writing. His book L'Echange Impossible was published in September 1999, following his book of photographs called Car l'Illusion ne s'oppose pas à la Realité which was published at the end of 1998. He was born in Reims but little in fact is known about Baudrillard's early life other than that he specialized in languages and taught German at a lycée for about 10 years. His earlier academic career had not been smooth; he has referred somewhat obscurely to his ‘Rimbaud period’ when he abandoned his studies for a time. He failed to get into the Ecole Normale Supérieur, and failed the important gateway examination, the agrégation. ...

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