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Simulacra and Simulation

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,725 Ratings  ·  240 Reviews

The first full-length translation in English of an essential work of postmodernism.

The publication of Simulacra et Simulation in 1981 marked Jean Baudrillard's first important step toward theorizing the postmodern. Moving away from the Marxist/Freudian approaches that had concerned him earlier, Baudrillard developed in this book a theory of contemporary culture that relies

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Paperback, 1st edition The Body, in Theory: Histories of Cultural Materialism, 164 pages
Published February 15th 1995 by University of Michigan Press (first published September 1978)
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Trevor
Dec 21, 2014 Trevor rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
When Plato spoke of the simulacra he meant it in a way that is quite different to how it is meant here, so, to understand what is meant here we probably should quickly look at what Plato meant. For Plato the world about us isn’t the ‘real’ world – it can’t be, not least because the ‘real’ world needs to be without contradictions and to be without contradictions there can be no change, no death (which is much the same thing). That means that the world we think we inhabit isn’t the ‘real’ world, b ...more
Toby
Aug 11, 2008 Toby rated it it was ok
Some authors have a gift of being able to explain complex matters in simple terms. Baudrillard, on the other hand, seems to have the complete opposite - explaining essentially simple (although nontheless interesting) concepts in overly complex terms. While the core message of his essays is thought provoking and engaging, the text itself is so full of jargon, unnecessarily convoluted language, and a fair amount of repetition. If you are anything like myself you will spend an hour reading, rereadi ...more
Adam
Jan 20, 2008 Adam rated it really liked it
Basically the idea is just that people increasingly base their lives around collective ideas of things -- and those ideas can readily shift around and become something detached from reality -- rather than the things themselves. And that creates a free floating idea of society and the universe that supercedes concrete reality in its consequences.
Praj
Oct 13, 2013 Praj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ctext
**(This review has been dedicated to the charitable literary contribution of Alfonso’s (a.k.a The Crimson Fucker) penis , an essential piece of conceptual art of penile architecture.)



The simulacrum is never that
which conceals the truth-it is
the truth which conceals that
there is none.
The simulacrum is true. -Ecclesiastes


It has been a week and Sammy hasn't stopped humping the cilantro or sucking the lonely grape. The dung beetle has left its profession for some weed. Since Martha’s (the pig) dea
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Bradley
May 04, 2011 Bradley rated it really liked it
Totally, completely rad. I can just see people smoking bongs not getting this completely, but postmodernism IS the dominant episteme in the West... according to Chela Sandoval however, Jameson was right that Postmodernism is complicit with various colonial ideologies, and we must we wary of it in 2011... but, Baudrillard wrote this in 1981 (yea, that's the year I was born! How cool to be born when such a rad thinker like Baudrillard was doing his best stuff!) anyway - sort of think that postmode ...more
Lit Bug
To dissimulate is to pretend not to have what one has. To simulate is to feign to have what one doesn't have. But it is more complicated than that because simulating is not pretending: "Whoever fakes an illness can simply stay in bed and make everyone believe he is ill. Whoever simulates an illness produces in himself some of the symptoms"
- Littré

Baudrillard sometimes fascinates me. Examining popular culture and its signs as taking over reality and replacing it, leaving only an unreliable ref
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Adam
Completely agree with everything said in Shiv's review, as quoted:

"Some authors have a gift of being able to explain complex matters in simple terms. Baudrillard, on the other hand, seems to have the complete opposite - explaining essentially simple (although nontheless interesting) concepts in overly complex terms. While the core message of his essays is thought provoking and engaging, the text itself is so full of jargon, unnecessarily convoluted language, and a fair amount of repetition. If y
...more
Stephanie
Feb 06, 2008 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Philosophers and anyone with an open-mind
This is the kind of book that you find yourself bringing up in conversations all the time. It is applicable on so many levels; once you grasp the concept, it really grasps you back. It is relevant to me as an anthropologist, archaeologist and psychologist, but I would classify it more as a philosophy book. Bottom line: This book will do you good.
David
Jul 27, 2010 David rated it liked it
The Man Who Hates Everything helps define the hopelessness and helplessness of the postmodern world. He succeeds brilliantly; or, considering his goal, horribly.

He starts off strong, putting forth some stunning ideas while taking on God, Disneyland, Watergate, journalism, cinema, and advertising. He starts to stumble when he moves on to technology, and totally loses his thread when he tries to bring in sexuality, animals, and his ridiculous gender politics. He finishes by writing about the subje
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Magdelanye
In spite of the difficulties I had with this challanging work, I believe I get it.
We are living in end times and we're screwed by our notions of and distance from reality.

From the premises "Reproduction is always diabolicalin its very essence....simulation...is still and always the place of a giagantic enterprise of manipulation, of control and of death..."p153
we get the conclusion:
"there remains only a demand linked to the empty form of the institution- perverse demand,and for that reason all t
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Zach
Apr 23, 2012 Zach rated it it was ok
a gem or two (the first essay in particular), but most of it is too trapped in its own flashy, alienating referents (ohohohoho) to sound like anything more than an extended fart noise.
Ellen
Dec 14, 2009 Ellen rated it really liked it
Not so much a review as an illustration of why I like his thinking so much. A couple of excerpts from his book:

If we were able to view the Borges fable in which the cartographers of the Empire draw up a map so detailed that it ends up covering the territory exactly (the decline of the Empire witnesses the fraying of this map, little by little, and its fall into ruins, though some shreds are still discernible in the deserts—the metaphysical beauty of this ruined abstraction testifying to a pride
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Steven Peterson
Dec 31, 2009 Steven Peterson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jean Baudrillard, postmodern thinker, despairs; he claims, in "Forget Foucault," that there is an "impossibility of any politics" in our current situation. An important part of this context are media simulations, of reality so obscured by the play of images completely unrelated to any "reality" which might be out there that we are hopelessly incapable of arriving at any judgments on which to base political decisions and actions. Images on television and in the movies and in other media are "floa ...more
Tyrran
Jul 19, 2011 Tyrran marked it as to-read
This book cannot be read like a Haruki Murakami novel, one to enthrall you during relaxation. This book is more like study material, each sentence of Baudrillard's can be heavily read into and some sentences require extended knowledge on the subject (to my dismay it forced me to endure a Jorge Luis Borges short-story). What piqued my interest to this book initially was from another book I read "Taking the Red Pill: Science, Philosophy and Religion in The Matrix" by David Gerrold (I should howeve ...more
Iain
Jul 09, 2012 Iain rated it did not like it
This book is only so highly rated because it is utterly incomprehensible. Baudrillard revelled in using hundreds of words to write what were really quite simple and flimsy arguments. Responsible for inspiring a lot of impenetrable 'art-speak' which is unfortunately common at a lot of art school degree shows nowadays.
Iryne
Nov 01, 2014 Iryne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To say that reading Baudrillard would give one a different way of looking at things would be an understatement. On the surface the words are understandable, the use of simple/accessible and direct to the point manner of elaborating ideas made the experience easier. I find this work as an engaging read, vacillating from deductive and inductive methods of exposing his concepts. Engaging as it may be, some concepts are, for now, too abstract and difficult for my mind to wrap around. I have decided ...more
Alex Lee
Sep 17, 2015 Alex Lee rated it it was amazing
This is not an easy book to read, in part because Baudrillard starts off with his ideas in full development and then talks around them, to explain them. He will start off with an example, develop the idea within the example, and then end by wrapping the example around itself, rather than ending on continual applications of the idea. In any case, he doesn't do the historicity thing by telling you the past, where the idea may have come from, and then develop the series of thoughts that outline the ...more
Erik Moore
Jul 26, 2013 Erik Moore rated it it was amazing
I just finished Jean Baudrillard’s “Simulacra and Simulation” published in the original French in 1981, but I had to wait for Sheila Faria Glaser to publish the translation in 1994. In it, Baudrillard sets up Hegelian dichotomies or “dialectics” like the observer and the observed, the real and the simulation, McCluhan’s media and message, and so on. He takes each of these and spins them out of control, bemoaning their loss as a loss of meaning. In his analysis of everything Baudrillard bemoans t ...more
Rob
Jul 22, 2012 Rob rated it really liked it
(8/10) Baudrillard is one of those guys who getts dismissed a lot as an obscure French academic, and he is all three of those things. But I think there's a kind of beauty to his writing that makes it more than just jargon. Baudrillard describes the world around us in terms of apocalyptic science fiction, drawing our eye to the way the horrific and the banal intersect in a world of illusion. The kind of juxtapositions and forceful rhetoric that he uses remind me more than a bit of J. G. Ballard, ...more
Jeremy
Jul 19, 2014 Jeremy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
I read part of the first half back in college. Going through it again I find myself having the same reservations, Baudrillard's style is overly dependent on these really repetitive, almost cheekily nihilistic assertions. And while his in-your-face style is provocative, ultimately, it just amounts to an aweful lot of empty rhetoric about how totally empty everything is. A lot of it just seems like stuff he read and regurgitated from Deleuze and Foucault and then mixed up with his own sense of che ...more
Tasniem Sami
يلجا الكاتب لعرض مشاهد- - مقاطع تبدو وكانها مشاهد متلفزة عشواءية (تجديد مومياء رعمسيس ، فضيحة وترجريت ، مشاهد المفاعلات النووية ،حرب الكويت....
يستهل عرض فكرته بنكران وقوع الحادثة -هذا الفوق واقع
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كيف اصبح هذا الفوق واقع واقعا ً؟ لماذا لا تكون الحروب حلماً ؛حلماً من الدمار والنبالم و حرق الاشجار حيَّة ؟! ثم تمر من خلال السلوك والترانزستورات وانبوب الكاثود لتكون "حرباً " هل هذا يعني ان حرب فايتنام او حرب الكويت لم تقع ؟
لماذا يمثل المُفاعل النووي ما يمثله -كارثة الانفجار ، خطر حرب نووية مقبلة ؟
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Hibou
Aug 31, 2007 Hibou rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The further I get from college and my cultural criticism days, I find it harder to believe in jargon, at least in the absence of humor. That is perhaps why I prefer Roland Barthes, Terry Eagleton, even Jean-Francois Lyotard to Baudrillaud. This is my second attempt at Baudrillaud and while he is a provocateur, he sacrifices clarity and coherence in the name of apocalytic and somewhat absurd pronouncements (such as there can be no wars that we accept as wars but rather in today's age, it is merel ...more
Bickety Bam
Dec 18, 2010 Bickety Bam rated it it was ok
About two-thirds of the way through, I started to wonder if the whole book wasn't intended to be some sort of sick academic joke. While there were a few interesting points in it, I can't imagine a worse presentation of them.
Darya Conmigo
Нет, можно, конечно, сколько угодно иронизировать по поводу французских теоретиков с их абсолютно нечитаемыми текстами. К каждой строчке нужно возвращаться раз по пять, обращаясь к словарю. Это с одной стороны. С другой стороны, оно того стоит. Потому что - поддельность и симулятивность реальности в разных ее проявлениях. "Медиа - это вы" и "телевизор смотрит вас" - задолго до эпохи социальных медиа. Информация, цель которой - плодиться и размножаться, не рождая смысла, потому что информация - э ...more
Ian
"Ramses does not signify anything for us, only the mummy is of inestimable worth because it is what guarantees that accumulation has meaning. Our entire linear and accumulative culture collapses if we cannot stockpile the past in plain view" (Baudrillard, pgs. #9–10).

"… Los Angeles is surrounded by these imaginary stations that feed reality, the energy of the real to a city whose mystery is precisely that of no longer being anything but a network of incessant, unreal circulation—a city of incred
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Algirdas Brukštus
"Postkultūrinė filosofija? Kažkokios naujos būties apraiškos, ar naujo būties pjūvio aprašymas? Manau, kad antra. Kažkodėl man išnyra akmens įvaizdis: akmuo, su viduje slypinčiais intarpais, gyslelėmis. Jie buvo visą laiką, tačiau akiai atsiveria tiktai tiktai padarius akmens pjūvį. Tai, ką autorius aprašo savo knygoje, visą laiką slypėjo būtyje, tiesiog autoriaus dėmesio skalpelis būtent taip per ją praslydo. Tokie žodžiai kaip "fraktaliniai objektai" (109 p.), "holograma" (123-128 p.) nerodo į ...more
zack
Feb 04, 2008 zack rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The main essay "Precession of the Simulacra" was pretty difficult for me, but I feel like I understood and enjoyed a lot more getting into the shorter essays applying his theory to specific subjects. Finishing the entire book took about a month of picking it up and putting it down. Probably because these are the subjects I am interested in in general, I particularly enjoyed the following:

"Hypermarket and Hypercommodity"

"The Implosion of Meaning in the Media"

p.80 "Information devours its own co
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Aaron
Jan 27, 2013 Aaron rated it it was amazing
There’s not much point in trying to engage critically with a work already as thoroughly excavated as this one, so I’ll gloss over the actual substance of the thing - “Knock Knock, Neo”, Borges probably said it better, Procession of Simulacra is the absolutely essential essay and a lot of the rest of the book it is meandering bullshit which wanders ever further from the mother ship without explaining why, blahblahblah. There are already plenty of reviews which correctly make this point so I won’t ...more
William Holm
I finally finished this one. I've been reading it when on travel for almost two years and I must say it is rather boring. I started reading it since it is often referred to, notably in connection with the movie Matrix. I do not think that many people who refer to it actually have read it. For me it was a "know-thy-enemy" experience. Baudrillard is a major figure among the postmodern philosophers and my opinion about that group concurs with Swedish philosopher Sören Halldén who have dismissed the ...more
johan _5179
Dec 06, 2013 johan _5179 rated it did not like it
This book has simply managed to put me off all things post-structuralist and French at the same time. And has introduced a measure of disgust which I now feel towards both these subjects.

There are things you come across when you read a lot, things which sound profound and deep and wide-ranging before you realise that they are neither profound nor possess the all-encompassing grandeur which they make you think they do. Simulacra and Simulation is such a work.

The self-serving circular logic of sel
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Matrix Trilogy 6 70 Mar 10, 2013 04:52PM  
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Jean Baudrillard (27 July 1929 – 6 March 2007) was a French sociologist, philosopher, cultural theorist, political commentator, and photographer. His work is frequently associated with postmodernism and post-structuralism.

Jean Baudrillard was also a Professor of Philosophy of Culture and Media Criticism at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, where he taught an Intensive Summer S
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