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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A key text and introduction to major contemporary thinker, 10 Jan 2001
By A Customer
Symbolic Exchange and Death - Review
Jean Baudrillard has an insatiable desire to stay ahead of the game, to push things further and further. Symbolic Exchange and Death, written in 1976 but surprisingly not translated in English until 1993, is a key text because it sets out in challenging but relatively clear terms Baudrillard's radical approach before his more recent period based upon 'fatal strategies' which travels into the ethereal and obscure. Symbolic Exchange and Death fundamentally operates as a genealogy of our dominant system of political economy and the underlying spectre of a pre-existing Symbolic Order. This involves a catastrophic challenge to Marxian and Freudian thought and traditional social approaches. It develops the earlier works of Michel Foucault and phenomenologists such as R.D. Laing to a more radical stance which begins to turn many widely accepted beliefs on their head. It also demonstrates that Baudrillard is not at all the high priest of postmodernism as was thought in the latter part of the 1980s but is a relentless poststructuralist. Despite Baudrillard's own later consignment of the work to a bygone era of dialecticism, Symbolic Exchange and Death, twenty five years on still retains an explosive potency. Fascinating, controversial and altogether unputdownable - will inevitably draw readers to explore the author's other works.
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Symbolic Exchange and Death (Published in association with Theory, Culture & Society)
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