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Jean Baudrillard (1929-2007)


The Violence of the Image (2004)

French theorist Jean Baudrillard (1929–2007) was one of the foremost intellectual figures of the present age whose work combines philosophy, social theory, and an idiosyncratic cultural metaphysics that reflects on key events of phenomena of the epoch. A sharp critic of contemporary society, culture, and thought, Baudrillard is often seen as a major guru of French postmodern theory, although he can also be read as a thinker who combines social theory and philosophy in original and provocative ways and a writer who has developed his own style and forms of writing. He was an extremely prolific author who has published over thirty books and commented on some of the most salient cultural and sociological phenomena of the contemporary era, including the erasure of the distinctions of gender, race, and class that structured modern societies in a new postmodern consumer, media, and high tech society; the mutating roles of art and aesthetics; fundamental changes in politics, culture, and human beings; and the impact of new media, information, and cybernetic technologies in the creation of a qualitatively different social order, providing fundamental mutations of human and social life.

For some years a cult figure of postmodern theory, Baudrillard moved beyond the postmodern discourse from the early 1980s to the present, and has developed a highly idiosyncratic mode of philosophical and cultural analysis. This entry focuses on the development of Baudrillard's unique modes of thought and how he moved from social theory to postmodern theory to a provocative type of philosophical analysis.[1] In retrospect, Baudrillard can be seen a theorist who has traced in original ways the life of signs and impact of technology on social life, and who has systematically criticized major modes of modern thought, while developing his own philosophical perspectives.


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