• 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.

Mass-Media Culture
Mass-Media Culture
The ‘Neo’ – or Anachronistic Resurrection

As Marx said of Napoleon III, sometimes in history the same events occur twice: the first time with real historical import; the second merely as caricatural evocation of the event, as a grotesque avatar of it – sustained by a legendary reference. Cultural consumption may thus be defined as the time and place of the caricatural resurrection, the parodic evocation of what already no longer exists – of what is not so much ‘consumed’ as ‘consummated’ (completed, past and gone). The tourists who journey by coach to the far north to re-enact the Gold Rush, hiring Eskimo tunics and clubs to provide some local colour, are people who are consuming: they are consuming in ritual form ...

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