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Jean Baudrillard

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Nabeelah I

on 20 March 2014

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Transcript of Jean Baudrillard

July 27 1929 - March 6 2007

cultural theorist
political commentator
Jean Baudrillard
Symbolic Order & Counterfeits
- Technical principle has the upper hand
- Era in the Industrial Revolution
- Production overtakes the symbol and governs the appearance and replication of signs
- Capacity to duplicate human functioning is crucial
- Signs and the ability to control the code have overtaken production itself
- Relationship between production and signs is reversed

Baudrillard's Example: the figure of the robot to clarify shift in how signs function
Baudrillard's Work
Presentation by: Ashley, Fariya, Nabeelah, Subhanki, Valerie
Jean Baudrillard
The Mass Media
The Commodity Culture
The Centrality of the Object
Baudrillard suggests:
that objects fulfill 2 functions: use and possession
humans are becoming the "objects of objects"
signification is moving away from functionality into pure symbolicity
Paul Foss: Baudrillard has lost the resolve to defend his claims

Exaggerates and generalizes his theories

Kellner states Baudrillard enjoys the foolishness of consumers and media in society
Responses to Hypertelia
David H
Amy B
Zach C
Tedy B
Michelle R
Jennifer A
Kim C
Pamela S
Ruby T
Stephanie H
Randi P
Arun P
Maiah J
Mac H
Rukshimi R
Meaghan L
Rachy N
Diba S
Shane S
Wasif K
Valerie L
David M
Ducharme B
Steven M
Rudra S.
Dan C
Baudrillard's Role in Communication and Rhetoric
Other Areas of Interest
Does not like the word "communication" prefers "symbolic exchange"

Follows the idea of "the medium is the message"

Believes we live in a consumer society where objects dominate and control people

political activism


Le Touquet, 1995
Baudrillard states his "critical impulses comes from radical temperament more common with poetry than philosophy"

Claims to not criticizes or search for new conceptual platform

Many critics commend him for his postmodernist approach
Saint-Clement, 1987
Main Interests and Influences
Four periods :

Each emphasis on different aspects of his analysis on contemporary society.
1st period: between 1966 and 1973
Traditional Sociology
The System of Objects
The Consumer Society in 1970
For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign in 1972
The Mirror of Production in 1973

2nd period: between 1976 to 1983 Developing and applying his own theories about signs and symbols
Symbolic Exchange and Death
L’Effet Beaubourg (1977)
In the Shadow of the Silent Majorities (1978)
Forget Foucault (1977)
Seduction (1979)
Simulations (1982)
Fatal Strategies (1983)

3rd period: between 1986 and 1991 Experiment with various genres and forms
America (1986)
Journals-- Cool Memories I (1986) & II (1990) and Fragment’s: Cool Memories III (1996)
The Ecstasy of Communication (1987)
The Gulf War Did Not Take Place (1991)

4th Period: Overlap with 3rd period
The Transparency of Evil: Essays on Extreme Phenomena (1990)
The Illusion of the End (1992)
The Prefect Crime (1994)
The Commodity Culture
Baudrillard’s definition: The mass media creates individuality by organizing behaviours- tastes, choices, preferences and needs.

Consumption is About Capitalism
“Consumption has grasped the whole world.”
“Consumption now comes before production”
Product is not as important as the meaning of the product.

Impact on the Nature of Culture
One Consequence
System values the consumption of objects over particular objects consumed

Second Consequence
System values the
consumption of objects over particular objects consumed

Evolution of Simulation
Symbolic Order
The first stage of the evolution of simulation

Referred to as the pre-simulation age

Signs are absolutely "clear, referential, stable, and reflect basic reality"

Baudrillard associated this stage to the feudal society
The first level of simulation occurs

Signs are recognized as mimicking reality

Signs identified as "signified", as having no direct relationship between signs and reality
fourth stage or "layer"

simulacrum has no relationship to any reality

simulation can replace the original object because of its capability to replicate

"Hyperreality": reproduction, imitation, replication, "virtual reality"
Simulacra and Simulation
Simulacra are reproductions that depict symbols and images that never had a reality or no longer have an original

Simulation are the processes of imitation, reproduction, replication
Consequences of Simulation
The natural or real previously could be discovered in what was clearly artificial and counterfeit.
Jean Baudrillard and Mass Communication

- Proliferation and dominance of media radically transform society and the possibilities for human interaction within it
- We believe that we bend the world to our will through technology, but Baudrillard argues that the opposite is true
- Mass media as creating representations or simulated versions of reality, capable of producing a particular kind of culture
- Contemporary media deals with information (system of emission and reception) rather than communication (involves a symbolic exchange)
- There is no genuine exchange possible with the media (no response; no responsibility)
- Time and rhythm are critical in genuine symbolic exchange
- Communication has become irrelevant: cannot compete with speed of presentation of information
- There never again can be a reality without the mass media
- Mass media is pervasive and has the power to change the way that reality is perceived
- A new form of uncertainty has risen, not only from information but from an excess of information
Evolution of Simulation
All aspects of social life as being made up of a system of signs
signs are not only symbolic expressions in and of themselves, but are part of larger systems
Simulation: when the separation of signs from the objects they represent increases
the inability to distinguish the real from the fake

Media and technology have made it so that it is difficult to distinguish the real from the simulation of the real
Four Stages
symbolic order



Baudrillard describes contemporary culture based on production/consumption process.
Responses to Hypertelia
The Banal
The strategy used within the rational paradigm
privilege the human as subject
The Fatal
The creative possibilities embedded within the world
Privilege the object
Rationality is Born
Dominance over the object came with the intervention of rationality
The way we seek to make sense of the world by ordering, arranging and domination
Are we losing our grip on the world?
The Decline of Banal, Considering the Fatal
The Matrix
Who represents the banal and who represents the fatal?

Who is in control? Who is privilege given to?
Self Help Guide to Take Back Control
How did we get like this?
Full transcript