Scholarly Writings and Theoretical Contributions of Jean Baudrillard
He would later transfer to sociology where he wrote a thesis on System of objects for his doctoral studies. He was a sociology professor at University de Paris-X-Nanterre and socio-Economique at Paris-Dauphine University. He later made many trips internationally that would shape his theoretical and scholarly contributions. His most noted works include: The System of Objects; Simulacra and Stimulation; Seduction; America; The Mirror of Production; The Gulf War Did Not Take Place; The Spirit of Terrorism; The Perfect Crime: And Requiem for the Twin Towers; The Ecstasy of Communication; and The Agony of Power (Samantha, 2011). Some of his works were focused on both pataphysics (the science of imaginary solutions) and metaphysics. He termed the war as a media spectacle and contended that the actual war never took place.
Most of his works were considered unconventional and received a lot of criticism (Baudrillard, 1983). This paper looks at Jean Baudrillard’s theoretical and scholarly writings with a special look at one of his most notable work Simulacra and Simulation. Simulacra and Simulation The term Simulacra is important in the way we view the media today. Baudrillard was a media theorist and he concerned himself with the concept of simulation. This is in regard to the signs and symbols that represent the culture and the society’s social construct and the media which creates a false illusion of reality. We then acquire an understanding of what our lives should be and is then rendered perceived to be legible. These simulacra have saturated our lives with what Baudrillard referred to as “precession of simulacra” (Ward & Fernando, 2015).
Stages of Simulacra and Simulation. Baudrillard explained how the reality diminished and was replaced with images and copies in different ways. • Masking the lack of reality. At this stage, the sign assumes the actual ‘faithful copy place when in reality it is the copy of the reality. Images and signs are thought to represent what is original yet they are just simulated of the reality and the arbitrary things are merely suggested. This was referred to as the order of sorcery by Baudrillard (Baudrillard, 1983). This was given by the analogy that it was as though copies were made from the original art. The world is fed on the illusion of reality to the point that reality itself has begun to imitate the fake models.
Baudrillard’s believes that the postmodern culture is artificial and that we have lost the ability to differentiate between nature and artifice. Simulacra and Simulation present three orders identified by their specific period in time. • Pre-modern period. The representations are implicit artificial placeholders for actual items. The media has become so successful in the advertisement that people do not stop to think about the products and their originality. Not many consumers would be able to identify the raw material their iPhones or vehicles are made of, but they are well vast with the newest model of each. This is the new reality Baudrillard speaks of in the Precession of Simulacra. Phenomena. In post-modernity of the late capitalist, the distinction between what was the faithful image and the unfaithful image vanishes.
However, the values of goods are measured by money and the usefulness of the commodities is now quantified in monetary terms in order to facilitate exchange (Sandoz, 2003). The capitalists' culture promoted the fiat currency terms for the measure of the value of goods. The money was made a universal measure of value and everything else was measured against it. Humans began to view their lives in terms of the value and amount of money they possess and not in terms of the things held. This meant that the society had lost their material reality and they also lost self-reality. Culture is now alienated through the centering on productive throughput systems. The key aim of urbanization is to separate humans from the nonhuman world (Samantha, 2011).
As urbanization succeeds in this, we continue to lose any sense of the natural world. It is now common to see natural spaces labeled “protected” and this shows that they are defined in a way that contradicts with the urban “reality”. The simulation in the urban centers is beyond measure that the actual nature is labeled protected to point out how “real” they are. The much spoken of “American Dream “is a classic example of hyper-reality. The reality TVs make another example of hyper-reality where there is not anything natural happening but all is stage managed and the consumers believe it is the actual lives of the starts the shows are portraying. Analogies. In his Simulacra and Simulation, Baudrillard uses analogies to make a point.
For instance, he explains the Hyperreal Imaginary by employing the use of Disneyland. The Precession of Simulacra and the Hyperreal Imaginary is best understood from these analogies and readers get to see how a copy gets to replace the reality in a series of events. Criticisms. Postmodernism, as postulated by Baudrillard, represented a great range of philosophical points of view. His theory centers on focus on the problem of any knowledge that is perceived to be foreign to the individual. Many theorists believe that knowledge is broadly shared in the original form but the limitations can vary. These are relevant in reminding us of the extreme extent of our dreams of technological transcended dangerous fantasies. It is not true that hyper-reality does not wipe off these limits for they exist unconditionally and only erases it from the subconscious.
Many scholars after Baudrillard’s find his assertion on hyper-reality flawed in this sense. David Porush further disagrees with Baudrillard and says that we will preserve and enhance the gifts of imagination and transcendence. He finds Baudrillard’s view to be narrow and historical take on the advent of virtual reality (Hayles, 1991). He leaves readers with the duty to forecast, interpret and find solutions. Conclusion. From his best-known theories of simulation and hyper-reality, we can tell that Jean Baudrillard was greatly influenced by Marxism, Structuralism, and Sociology. His work is a transition through different schools of thought. His works on Post-modernist, Post-Marxist and Post-structuralism gives his view of the postmodern world. G. , & Merrill, J. C. Ethical communication: Mopral stances in human dialogue.
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