System of Objects

Overview

Pressing Freudian and Saussurean categories into the service of a basically Marxist perspective, The System of Objects offers a cultural critique of the commodity in consumer society. Baudrillard classifies the everyday objects of the 'new technical order' as functional, nonfunctional and metafunctional. He contrasts 'modern' and 'traditional' functional objects, subjecting home furnishing and interior design to a celebrated semiological analysis. His treatment of nonfunctional or 'marginal' objects focuses on ...
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Overview

Pressing Freudian and Saussurean categories into the service of a basically Marxist perspective, The System of Objects offers a cultural critique of the commodity in consumer society. Baudrillard classifies the everyday objects of the 'new technical order' as functional, nonfunctional and metafunctional. He contrasts 'modern' and 'traditional' functional objects, subjecting home furnishing and interior design to a celebrated semiological analysis. His treatment of nonfunctional or 'marginal' objects focuses on antiques and the psychology of collecting, while the metafunctional category extends to the useless, the aberrant and even the 'schizofunctional'. Finally, Baudrillard deals at length with the implications of credit and advertising for the commodification of everyday life.
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Editorial Reviews

New York Times
“A sharp-shooting Lone Ranger of the post-Marxist left.”
i-D magazine
“The most notorious intellectual celebrity to emerge from Paris since Roland
Barthes and the most influential prophet of the media since Marshall
McLuhan.”
From the Publisher
“A sharp-shooting Lone Ranger of the post-Marxist left.”—New York Times

“The most notorious intellectual celebrity to emerge from Paris since Roland Barthes and the most influential prophet of the media since Marshall McLuhan.”—i-D magazine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781844670536
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 1/1/2006
  • Series: Radical Thinkers Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,418,922
  • Product dimensions: 5.08 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Meet the Author

Jean Baudrillard (1929–2007) began teaching sociology at the Université de Paris-X in 1966. He retired from academia in 1987 to write books and travel until his death in 2007. His many works include Simulations and Simulacra, America, The Perfect Crime, The System of Objects, Passwords, The Transparency of Evil, The Spirit of Terrorism, and Fragments, among others.
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Table of Contents

Translator's Acknowledgements
Introduction 1
A The Functional System, or Objective Discourse 13
I Structures of Interior Design 15
II Structures of Atmosphere 30
III Conclusion: Naturalness and Functionality 63
Addendum: The Domestic World and the Car 65
B The Non-Functional System, or Subjective Discourse 71
I Marginal Objects: Antiques 73
II A Marginal System: Collecting 85
C The Metafunctional and Dysfunctional System: Gadgets and Robots 107
D The Socio-Ideological System of Objects and Their Consumption 135
I Models and Series 137
II Credit 156
III Advertising 164
Conclusion: Towards a Definition of 'Consumption' 197
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