• 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.

Political Economy and Death
Political Economy and Death
The Extradition of the Dead

As soon as savages began to call ‘men’ only those who were members of their tribe, the definition of the ‘Human’ was considerably enlarged: it became a universal concept. This is precisely what we call culture. Today all men are men. Universality is in fact based exclusively on tautology and doubling, and this is where the ‘Human’ takes on the force of a moral law and a principle of exclusion. This is because the ‘Human’ is from the outset the institution of its structural double, the ‘Inhuman’. This is all it is: the progress of Humanity and Culture are simply the chain of discriminations with which to brand ‘Others’ with inhumanity, and therefore ...

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