This is the first English-language translation of Jean BaudrillardÆs contemporary classic on the sociology of consumption. Originally published in 1970, the book was one of the first to focus on the processes and meaning of consumption in contemporary culture. At a time when others were fixated with the production process, Baudrillard could be found making the case that consumption is now the axis of culture. He demonstrates how consumption is related to the goal of economic growth and he maps out a social theory of consumption. Many of the themes that would later make Baudrillard famous are sketched out here for the first time. In particular, his concepts of simulation and the simulacrum receive their earliest systematic treatment.
Written at a time when Baudrillard was moving away from both Marxism and institutional sociology, the book is more systematic than his later works. He is still pursuing the task of locating consumption in culture and society. So the reader will find here his most organized discussion of mass media culture, the meaning of leisure, and anomie in affluent society. There is also a fascinating chapter on the body that shows yet again Baudrillard's extraordinary prescience in flagging the importance of vital subjects in contemporary culture long before his colleagues.
Baudrillard is widely acclaimed as a key thinker in sociology, communication, and cultural studies. This book makes available to English-speaking readers one of his most important works. It will be devoured by the steadily expanding circle of Baudrillard scholars, and it will also be required reading for students of the sociology of culture, communication, and cultural studies.