The System of Objects Paperback – Aug 17 1996
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“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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Top Customer Reviews
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?Read more ›
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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