• 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 Mystique of Solicitude
The Mystique of Solicitude

The consumer society is not simply characterized by the abundance of goods and services but by the more important fact that in this society everything is a service. What is available to be consumed never presents itself as pure and simple product, but as a personal service, as gratification. From ‘Guinness is good for you’, via the receptionist’s smile and the automatic cigarette machine’s ‘thank-you’, to the politicians’ deep concern for their fellow citizens, each of us is beset by a formidable obligingness, surrounded by a conspiracy of devotion and goodwill. The tiniest bar of soap is presented as the fruit of the thinking of a whole council of experts who have been poring for months over ...

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