• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Jean Baudrillard’s classic text was one of the first to focus on the process and meaning of consumption in contemporary culture. Originally published in 1970, the book makes a vital contribution to current debates on consumption. The book includes Baudrillard’s most organized discussion of mass media culture, the meaning of leisure, and anomie in affluent society. A chapter on the body demonstrates Baudrillard’s extraordinary prescience for flagging vital subjects in contemporary culture long before others. This English translation begins with a new introductory essay.

The Social Logic of Consumption
The Social Logic of Consumption
The Egalitarian Ideology of Well-Being

The whole of the discourse on needs is based on a naïve anthropology: that of the natural propensity to happiness. Happiness, written in letters of fire behind the least little advert for bathsalts or the Canary Islands, is the absolute reference of the consumer society: it is the strict equivalent of salvation. But what is this happiness which haunts modern civilization with such ideological force?

Here again one has to revise all spontaneous conceptions. The ideological force of the notion of happiness does not originate in a natural propensity on the part of each individual to realize that happiness for himself. It derives, socio-historically, from the fact that the myth of happiness ...

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