• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

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.

The End of Production
The End of Production
The Structural Revolution of Value

Saussure located two dimensions to the exchange of terms of the langue, which he assimilated to money. A given coin must be exchangeable against a real good of some value, while on the other hand it must be possible to relate it to all the other terms in the monetary system. More and more, Saussure reserves the term value for this second aspect of the system: every term can be related to every other, their relativity, internal to the system and constituted by binary oppositions. This definition is opposed to the other possible definition of value: the relation of every term to what it designates, of each signifier to its signified, like the ...

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