• 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 Extermination of the Name of God
The Extermination of the Name of God
The Anagram

The model of a symbolic exchange also exists within the field of language, something like the core of a political anti-economy, a site of the extermination of value and the law: poetic language. In the field of an anti-discourse, a beyond of the political economy of language, Saussure’s Anagrams constitute the fundamental discovery. The same discovery that will later lend its conceptual arms to linguistic science had previously, in his Cahiers d’anagrammes, brought out the antagonistic character of a non-expressive language, beyond the laws, axioms and finalities assigned it by linguistics, in the form of a symbolic operation of language, that is to say, not a structural operation of representation ...

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