• Summary
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Jean Baudrillard is one of the most celebrated and most controversial of contemporary social theorists. This major work 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 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 English translation begins with a new introductory essay.

Introduction: Symbolic Exchange and Death Today
Introduction: Symbolic Exchange and Death Today
Mike GaneNicholas Gane

Jean Baudrillard has been a divisive figure within the English-speaking disciplines of sociology and cultural studies. On one side, followers of Baudrillard have embraced his attack on the orders of economic value that underpin contemporary Western culture; while on the other, critics have dismissed Baudrillard as someone whose playful and poetic attack on core concepts such as the social, class, and the real is not worthy of serious consideration. The text of Symbolic Exchange and Death, first published in French in 1976, has been central to the reception of Baudrillard within these two camps, for it has been seen either as providing a brilliant analysis of the shifting forms of value and ...

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