• 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.

Anomie in the Affluent Society
Anomie in the Affluent Society

The consumer society is at one and the same time a society of solicitude and a society of repression, a pacified society and a society of violence. We have seen that ‘pacified’ daily life thrives on a daily diet of consumed violence, ‘allusive’ violence: news reports of accidents, murders, revolutions, the atomic or bacteriological threat – the whole apocalyptic stock-in-trade of the mass media. We have seen that the affinity between violence and the obsession with security and well-being is not accidental: ‘spectacular’ violence and the pacification of daily life are homogeneous, because they are each equally abstract and each is a thing of myths and signs. We might also add that violence is nowadays ...

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