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The System of Objects Paperback – Aug 17 1996


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 214 pages
  • Publisher: Verso (Aug. 17 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 185984068X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1859840689
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 20.3 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #905,255 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

“A sharp-shooting Lone Ranger of the post-Marxist left.”—New York Times

“The most notorious intellectual celebrity to emerge from Paris since Roland Barthes and the most influential prophet of the media since Marshall McLuhan.”—i-D magazine

About the Author

Jean Baudrillard (1929–2007) began teaching sociology at the Université de Paris-X in 1966. He retired from academia in 1987 to write books and travel until his death in 2007. His many works include Simulations and Simulacra, America, The Perfect Crime, The System of Objects, Passwords, The Transparency of Evil, The Spirit of Terrorism, and Fragments, among others.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mravka on May 24 2008
Format: Paperback
I feel fortunate that "The System of Objects" was my introduction to Baudrillard's work. I found that his ideas were presented in a very clear systematic way, with an almost technical style of writing which was easy to understand and contrasts greatly to his more abstract writings starting with "Forget Foucault". Although this was Baudrillard's first published book, it is by far not his most famous. However, the terms and ideas central to much of his later thought, particularly "The Precession of Simulacra" and "Fatal Strategies" are laid out here. One can even feel traces of the theories he presents here in "The Perfect Crime", published seventeen years later. Those who have been frustrated by attempts to read his later work should definitely read "The System of Objects" to get a better understanding of the underlying current that runs through much of his oeuvre. His definitions of "model" and "series" make his writings on simulacra, and the hyperreal much more meaningful. The sections on credit and advertising are particularly prescient in light of the recent past. This is essential reading.
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Format: Paperback
Some contemporary French philosophy is a fascinating and invigorating mix of psychology, sociology, semiotics and, dare one say it, poetry. In the English speaking world, Marshall McLuhan is probably the philosopher whose style is most similar to this first, 1968, book by the now well known Jean Baudrillard.
What is the book about? In a sense it is about the meaning of low tech everyday objects, and thus it is also about the psycho-sociology of our technology. Take mirrors, for example, which were frankly disappearing as an element of interior decoration when Baudrillard wrote his book. Yet for years, mirrors were an important fixture of well-to-do bourgeois interiors; they were opulent, expensive objects which in Baudrillard's words permitted "...the self-indulgent bourgeois
individual to exercise his privilege --reproduce his own image and revel in his possessions". Family portraits and photographs represent diachronic mirrors of the family, and thus played a similar narcissistic role in decoration. Baudrillard analyses clocks, lighting, glass, seating, antiques and the drive to automate and miniaturize gadgets and tools, and always comes up with provocative, sometimes maddening, insights into modern society and one's place in it --and after all what is philosophy
for but to make you think?
There is a brilliant and probably timeless exploration of the passion of collecting and leads up nicely to what the bulk of the book is devoted to: the study of systems of objects (one of the main chapters is aptly titled "The Socio-Ideological System of Objects and Their Consumption"). What do we yearn to express through technology? What is it it that fascinates us about robots?
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Format: Paperback
If you're academically inclined and into semiotics, this book should be part of your library. Any designer of systems, whether they be Web applications, lemon squeezers, or a marketing campaign, would probably find use of the insights offered here.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is particularly interesting in his examination of *collections* of objects.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By nietzschebunyan on July 5 2006
Format: Paperback
Though this is the earliest Baudrillard I've read before Seduction, if it is any indication of the overall merits of that period then I'm going off my self-imposed Baudrillard-ban and going after Symbolic Exchange and Death, and Towards a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign.

Baudrillard is lucid, insightful, and startlingly prescient in his comments and critiques of 20th century technology, and the concomitant sign-system that has come to dominance.

This book is to be highly valued for the light that it sheds on his later developments; particularly, he here makes explicit many presuppositions of his later critiques, thereby rendering them more comprehensible--and also more subject to critique, in a kind of "good thinkers make instructive mistakes" way.

For anyone who has found Baudrillard's work on simulation to have drifted into the insufferably metaphysical, this book will be refreshing.
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