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Simulacra and Simulation (The Body, In Theory: Histories of Cultural Materialism) Paperback – February 15, 1995

ISBN-13: 978-0472065219 ISBN-10: 0472065211 Edition: First Edition, 17th Printing

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Product Details

  • Series: The Body, In Theory: Histories of Cultural Materialism
  • Paperback: 164 pages
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press; First Edition, 17th Printing edition (February 15, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0472065211
  • ISBN-13: 978-0472065219
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 5.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,813 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Sheila Glaser is an editor at Artforum magazine.

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Customer Reviews

Avoiding the tomesque presentation of most philosophy books, This is just a compilation of essays.
B. Figares
It questions so many facets of our culture via media, politics, socialogy...and one can use the process and the argument Baudrillard makes to any facet of our lives.
Matt Roberts
This book is not about coming up with the truth, or with understanding how things really work, or anything like that.
Peter F. Delaney

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

167 of 183 people found the following review helpful By Scott J. Bogucki on December 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is by no means an easy text to read. For those unfamiliar with postmodern tropes-and especially those who have never read Baudrillard before-this text may seem especially daunting. I recommend that these people start with the essay entitled 'Simulacra and Science Fiction'. In this essay, Baudrillard details the three orders of simulacra: the first, natural simulacra, are operatic, founded on images, and aim at the restoration of "the ideal institution of nature made in God's image"; the second order are both productive and operative, based on energy, and work toward "a continuous globalization and expansion [and] an indefinite liberation of energy"; the third order, the simulacra of simulation, are "founded on information [and] total operationality, hyperreality, [and the] aim of total control" (121). The differences between the various simulacra exist in the distance between the real and the imaginary exhibited by each order. This illuminating interstice provides the locus for projecting critical activity and idealism. The first order maximizes the projection, allowing the utopia to stand in direct opposition to the real. The second order reduces this projection. Baudrillard describes it as a hyper-productive universe in which "science fiction adds the multiplication of its own possibilities" (122). As all previous models implode, the third order of simulacra witnesses the complete disappearance of the projection between reality and the imaginary as it becomes reabsorbed in simulation. To Baudrillard, this is the world in which we live: no more real, no more imaginary, no more fiction, just an endless regression of lost meaning with no foundation, or rather an endless precession of simulacra.Read more ›
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69 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Matt Roberts on September 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
Many peeple who hear of Baudrillard find themselves fans of the movie The Matrix. There is no doubt that the arguments Baudrillard makes in the first and last chapter do coincide with the movie. However, to accurately interpret the book and get a feel of what Baudrillard is really trying to state, the reader must surpass the framework the media has placed on his philosophy through The Matrix.
This is a book, that if one truly comes to an understanding of, would send shivers down our spines. It questions so many facets of our culture via media, politics, socialogy...and one can use the process and the argument Baudrillard makes to any facet of our lives.
When reading this book, the reader will get overwhelmed by the complexity and awesomeness of the Baudrillard argument and way of thinking. However, this book will question your perception of reality: what is real versus what is hyperreal and how does that process take place. The simulations of events and the process of simulacrum which is now in its fourth stage. Baudrillard then takes that process and argument and applies it to specific events, places and occurences in history and throughout our culture.
While the average Joe may be perplexed and overwhelmed by Baudrillard, I feel this is a must read for anyone who is interested in the subject of what is real, what is hyperreal, and where the simulation comes into place within the simulacrum.
If you do read this book I have a good piece of advice: do not apply the The Matrix to the book, rather the see how Baudrillard's arguments coincide with some of the basic ones in the movie. Then take those arguments and apply them to anything- once that is done you will see and feel the pain of Baudrillard's argument.
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90 of 104 people found the following review helpful By Peter F. Delaney on May 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is not about coming up with the truth, or with understanding how things really work, or anything like that. It's about pointing out that the emperor is not only naked but standing on his head and juggling. Baudrillard is eternally fun as long as you don't take him too seriously. Let his insanity wash over you like a flood and turn off your reality filters for a while. Let him ask all the questions P. K. Dick does, only in greater and weirder detail. What is real? What is a commodity? Why are some things valuable? Things have no value outside of their relationship to other things... and sometimes, relationships and ideas are the only real commodity, hollow fronts for a system with no foundation in the real world at all. Could you have science without testing things against what is real? Can you simply study unreal things forever, producing paper after paper, all logically consistent but studying something that ultimately doesn't exist?
All of Baudrillard since he stopped his Marxist tirade has been a wildly funny and insightful parade of wrong ideas. Enjoy it, be altered by it, and then go back to your regularly scheduled Nike shoe purchase.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By a.k.a. on December 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
I read this little book years ago as part of my grad studies. It is amazing to me how accurate many of Baudrillard's observations have proven to be. It's as if he were some kind of Prophet (LOL!). But, seriously, the loss of Reality is embodied in many different ways. Our use of the Internet is the number one example. Many forms of Virtual reality such as Reality TV, Chatrooms, Avatars, Online dating, even the Fashion industry qualify.

As for Desert of the Real, let me give you this example: Just 2 weeks ago I arranged a flight and never had to make any contact with anyone. I ordered my ticket online, printed it out, took it to a self-check-in machine, punched in my numbers, got a boarding pass, and walked on the plane. I have to admit I missed the human contact. But such is the post-Modern condition. Of course, there were people on the plane, but no individual attention, only contact as a group. Another example: Video games, email, Demographics, credit cards and direct deposit, Hollywood (originator of the Virtual), Celebrity culture (ex: Why is it that when they use certain people in a commercial they include the phrase "Real people, not actors"? Aren't actors real?), Paparrazzi, the Digital revolution. I could go on listing the many Virtual worlds we inhabit, but suffice it to say they are self-generating!

If you plan on reading this book, do yourself a favor and forget the Matrix (great movie, though). This is very real, Hyper-Real. Read Marxist ideology and some Existentialist "Being and Nothingness" Sartre, after reading Plato and Kant, and you wont be so put off by the big ideas. Baudrillard describes a world based on economic relationships only, and as such it is a system of objects, based on nothing but Material gains.
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