For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign

For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign

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A material analysis of the sign which deepens Marx's critique of political economy for spectacular times.

What if the problems of modern society don't come from production, but rather consumption and the system of cultural signs? In this classic work from the defining intellectual of the postmodern, Jean Baudrillard, For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign takes Marx's critique of political economy and its analysis of the commodity form as the starting point for an analysis of signs and their meaning in modern society. Influenced by Lefebvre's critique of everyday life, Barthes's semiology, and Situationism, Baudrillard analyses how objects are encoded within the system of signs and meanings that constitute contemporary media and consumer societies. Combining semiological studies and sociology of the consumer society, For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign contains Baudrillard's most extensive engagement with Marxism and shows him at a critical juncture for the development of his thought.

Reviews

  • Modest, independent, and devastatingly humorous, Jean’s work transmitted the lost urbanity of the mid-20th century while speaking of and into the future.

    Chris Kraus
  • What can one say of Baudrillard? His strange and striking apercus captured the moment, and his predictive powers, as a man who saw early on the rise of the media state, were unique.

    Kathryn Bigelow
  • For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign (1972) and The Mirror of Production (1973) constitutes, in my view, his most substantial contribution to philosophy, and deserves to be better known. From today’s perspective, Baudrillard may seem a more significant prophet than he appeared at the time.

    Philosophy Now