Jean Baudrillard is one of the most important and provocative writers in the contemporary era. Widely acclaimed as the prophet of postmodernism, he has famously announced the disappearance of the subject, meaning, truth, class and the notion of reality itself. Although he worked as a sociologist, his writing has enjoyed a wide interdisciplinary popularity and influence. He is read by students of sociology, cultural studies, philosophy, literature, French and geography. Organized into eight sections, the volumes provide the most complete guide to Baudrillard currently available. Section 1 - Theoretical Issues: In this section the central themes informing Baudrillard's work are defined and discussed. Baudrillard's place in contemporary social thought is examined through considerations of how his work has been received. The importance of signs and the sign economy in Baudrillard's analysis is highlighted. The case for treating Baudrillard as a seminal theorist in contemporary social thought is elucidated. Section 2 - Postmodernism: Baudrillard is reluctant to regard himself as a postmodernist.
Nonetheless, it is as the leading theorist of postmodernism that he is widely celebrated and generally known. This section explores Baudrillard's relation to postmodernism and demonstrates his specific contribution. Questions of Baudrillards relation to capitalism, commodification, fatalism, Lyotard, Jameson and politics are explored. Section 3 - Culture: It is now commonplace to refer to the period since the late 1980s as 'the cultural turn'. Baudrillard's work provided a leading exponent of the significance of culture in understanding contemporary life. Included here are reflections on Baudrillard and corporate culturalism, power, ideology, simulation, mass media, Disney, hyperreality and leisure. Section 4 - War: In the 1990s Baudrillard became famous for the thesis that 'the gulf war did not happen'. For some critics, it revealed the poverty of Baudrillard's approach. For others it showed more profoundly why his thought is an indispensable tool in grappling with the complexities of contemporary society. At all events, Baudrillard's treatment of the war represented a climacteric in critical responses to Baudrillard.
In this section the various range of responses to Baudrillard's intervention are precisely delineated, providing the reader with the essential data required to decide if Baudrillard's thesis is right or wrong. Section 5 - America: America dazzles and appalls Baudrillard. In America and of Cool Memories 1&2, he documents his violent responses to America as an idea; a physical space. Included here are reflections on Baudrillard, America and postmodernism; Baudrillard's significance as an ethnographer of US life; Baudrillard and American film; Baudrillard and Reagan's America; and Baudrillard, America and the politics of simulation. Section 6 - Seduction: Baudrillard's theory of seduction is, like much else in his work, controversial. This section examines how the theory has been interpreted and criticized. The relationship between Baudrillard and feminism is examined. Applications of his theory to art and work are explored. Section 7 - Fiction and Art: Baudrillard is an unusual contemporary thinker, in as much as his writing is taken seriously by artists. Baudrillard himself has responded to this, by becoming more interested in photography in the last ten years.
This section aims to provide an essential guide to the relationship between Baudrillard and art. Included here are enquiries into Baudrillard and science fiction, the relationship between Baudrillard and J G Ballard's 'Crash'; Baudrillard and abstract painting; Baudrillard and Francis Bacon; Baudrillard, Benjamin and Lichtenstein; Baudrillard, Barthes and photography; and, Baudrillard's theory of communication. Section 8 - Baudrillard and Other Social Theorists: The concluding part of the collection aims to situate Baudrillard in the field of contemporary social theory. Interestingly, Baudrillard himself has never attempted to compare and contrast his theoretical ideas with those of others. The 14 contributions included in this section, seek to rectify this shortcoming. The contributions cover Baudrillard and Marx; Baudrillard, Durkheim and Rousseau; Baudrillard and psychoanalysis; Baudrillard and Bataille; existentialism, postmodernism and Baudrillard; Baudrillard and McLuhan; Baudrillard and Critical Theory; Baudrillard and Habermas; Baudrillard and Deleuze; Baudrillard and de Certeau; and the fictional Baudrillard, as dreamt up by Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont.
The contributions are selected and introduced by Mike Gane, Reader in Sociology at the University of Loughborough. With publications like "Baudrillard's Bestiary", "Baudrillard: Critical & Fatal Theory" and "Baudrillard Live", Gane is widely recognized as the leading secondary commentator on the work of Baudrillard. No-one else matches him in the appreciation and critical understanding of Baudrillard. In a full length 'Introduction' to the volumes, written with verve and penetration, Gane shows exactly why Baudrillard is a key thinker of our times. Mike Gane is Professor of Sociology at University of Loughborough
A Challenge To Theory Introduction to Jean Baudrillard PART ONE: THEORETICAL ISSUES Toward a Politics of Signs - Jean-Claude Giradin Reading Baudrillard Baudrillard's Noble Anthropology - Robert Hefner The Image of Symbolic Exchange in Political Economy Baudrillard's Challenge - Charles Levin and Arthur Kroker A Note on Nostalgia - Bryan S Turner Boundaries and Borderlines - Douglas Kellner Reflections on Jean Baudrillard and Critical Theory Report - David Revill Jean Baudrillard 'Why Should We Talk When We Communicate So Well?' - Arthur Kroker Baudrillard's Enchanted Simulation Forget Baudrillard? - Barry Sandywell Jean Baudrillard - Paul Sutton Transintellectual? Baudrillard's Nihilism and the End of Theory - Anthony King Sign and Commodity - Andrew Wernick Aspects of the Cultural Dynamic of Advanced Capitalism The End of Geography and Radical Politics in Baudrillard's Philosophy - Richard G Smith PART TWO: POSTMODERNISM Cultural Change and Social Practice - Mike Featherstone Baudrillard, Semiurgy and Death - Douglas Kellner Panic Baudrillard - Arthur Kroker The Commodification of Reality and the Reality of Commodification - Steven Best Baudrillard, Debord, and Postmodern Theory On the Disorder of Things - Barry Smart Sociology, Postmodernity and the 'End of the Social' Ironies of Postmodernism - Mike Gane Fate of Baudrillard's Fatalism Takes on the Postmodern - Norman Denzin Baudrillard, Lyotard, and Jameson Baudrillard, Modernism and Postmodernism - Nicholas Zurbrugg The Sweet Scent of Decomposition - Zygmunt Bauman Lost in the Funhouse - Christopher Norris Baudrillard and the Politics of Postmodernism PART THREE: CULTURE Baudrillard and the Metaphysics of Motivation - Philip Hancock A Reappraisal of Corporate Culturalism in the Light of the Work and Ideas of Jean Baudrillard Power and Politics in Hyperreality - Timothy W Luke The Critical Project of Jean Baudrillard Der Schwindel der Simulation - Lothar Baier Sod Baudrillard! - Michael Billig Or Ideology Critique in Disney World 'The Text Must Scoff at Meaning' - Stuart Sim Baudrillard and the Politics of Simulation and Hyperreality Mass, Media, Mass Media-Tion - Briankle G Chang Jean Baudrillard's Implosive Critique of Modern Mass-Mediated Culture The Masses and the Media - Kuan-Hsing Chen Baudrillard's Implosive Postmodernism The Paradoxical Effects of Macluhanisme - Gary Genosko Cazeneuve, Baudrillard and Barthes Baudrillard and the Problematics of Post-New Left Media Theory - Jim Tarter Virtual Worlds - Marcus A Doel and David B Clarke Simulation, Suppletion, S(ed)uction and Simulacra Space on Flat Earth - Neville Wakefield Disney Sociology in the Absence of the Social - William Bogard The Significance of Baudrillard for Contemporary Thought Implosive Critiques - Philip Hayward A Consideration of Jean Baudrillard's 'In the Shadow of the Silent Majorities' A Critique of Baudrillard's Hyperreality - Anthony King Towards a Sociology of Postmodernism Baudrillard and Leisure - Chris Rojek Mapping the Present from the Future - Douglas Kellner From Baudrillard to Cyberpunk Jean Baudrillard - Juliet Steyn 'Then We Too Shall See the Stars Fade Away' PART FOUR: WAR Ruses de Guerre - Deborah Cook Baudrillard and Fiske on Media Reception The War, The Screen, The Crazy Dog and Poor Mankind - Kevin Robbins Consensus 'Reality' and Manufactured Truth - Christopher Norris Baudrillard and the War That Never Happened Uncritical Criticism? - William Merrin Norris, Baudrillard and the Gulf War Introduction to The Gulf War Did Not Take Place - Paul Patton PART FIVE: AMERICA America - Paul Buhle Post-Modernity? The Ethnographer as Geologist - Dima Cioran Tocqueville, L[ac]evi-Strauss, Baudrillard and the American Dilemma Paris, Texas and Baudrillard on America - Norman K Denzin The Homogenization of America - Jacques Mourrain Baudrillard's Amerique, and the 'Abyss of Modernity' - Nicholas Zurbrugg Baudrillard's America - Arthur J Vidich Lost in the Ultimate Simulacrum Cruising America - Bryan S Turner The Mirror of Reproduction - Diane Rubenstein Baudrillard and Reagan's America Baudrillard's America (and Ours?) - Stephen Watt Image, Virus, Catastrophe Post-Marx - Andrew Wernick Theological Themes in Baudrillard's America The 'Hyperreal' vs. the 'Really Real' - Ed Cohen If European Intellectuals Stop Making Sense of American Culture Can We Still Dance? Everything Solid Melts into Signs - Brian Jarvis Jean Baudrillard PART SIX: SEDUCTION Either/Or - Louise Burchill Peripeteia of an Alternative in Jean Baudrillard's De la S[ac]eduction Room 101, or A Few Worst Things in the World - Meaghan Morris Baudrillard's Woman - Sadie Plant The Eve of Seduction The Object's Seduction - Mike Gane Postmodernism and the Clothed Meaning - Efrat Tseelon Valorizing 'The Feminine' While Rejecting Feminism? - A Keith Goshorn Baudrillard's Feminist Provocations Jean Baudrillard - Andrew Wernick Seducing God Art, Work and Analysis in an Age of Electronic Simulation - Barry Smart PART SEVEN: FICTION AND ART The SF of Theory - Istvan Csiscery-Ronay Jr Baudrillard and Haraway Jean Baudrillard on the Current State of SF - Jonathan Benison PART SEVEN: FICTION AND ART In Response to Jean Baudrillard - N Katherine Hayles et al Ballard/Crash/Baudrillard - Nicholas Ruddick Baudrillard as Philosopher, or The End of Abstract Painting - David Carrier Panic Value - Arthur Kroker Bacon, Colville, Baudrillard and the Aesthetics of Deprivation The Work of Roy Lichtenstein in the Age of Walter Benjamin's and Jean Baudrillard's Popularity - Carter Ratcliffe Baudrillard, Barthes, Burroughs, and 'Absolute' Photography - Nicholas Zurbrugg Television is Killing the Art of Symbolic Exchange - William Merrin Baudrillard's Theory of Communication PART EIGHT: BAUDRILLARD AND OTHER THEORISTS Hall of Mirrors - Joseph Valente Baudrillard on Marx Baudrillard's Marx - Arthur Kroker In the Shadow of Reason - Raymond Lee From Weber's Elective Affinity to Baudrillard's Fatalism How to Comprehend Barbarism in the Midst of Enlightenment - Stjepan G Mestrovic Post-Modernism in the Theory and the Sociology of Law, or Rousseau and Durkheim as Read by Baudrillard - Anthony Carty Baudrillard, Critical Theory and Psychoanalysis - Charles Levin Utility and Excess - William Pawlett The Radical Sociology of Bataille and Baudrillard Ethik Jenseits von Moral - Bernhard H F Taurek Sartre, L[ac]evinas, Baudrillard In the Shadow of McLuhan - Andreas Huyssen Jean Baudrillard's Theory of Simulation Notes and Commentary - St. Louis Telos Group The Totally Administered Society Jean Baudrillard - Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont Technology and Culture in Habermas and Baudrillard - Mark Poster In the Shadow of the Deconstructed Metanarratives - Steven C Ward Baudrillard, Latour and the End of Realist Epistemology Baudrillard & Deleuze - Steven Maras Re-Viewing The Postmodern Scene The Struggle for an Affirmative Weakness - Gary Genosko de Certeau, Lyotard, and Baudrillard