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Jean Baudrillard

Jean Baudrillard (1929–2007) was a philosopher, sociologist, cultural critic, and theorist of postmodernity who challenged all existing theories of contemporary society with humor and precision. An outsider in the French intellectual establishment, he was internationally renowned as a twenty-first century visionary, reporter, and provocateur.

Titles by This Author

A Chronicle of the Years 1977–1984

First published in French in 1985, The Divine Left is Jean Baudrillard’s chronicle of French political life from 1977 to 1984. It offers the closest thing to political analysis to be found from a thinker who has too often been regarded as apolitical. Gathering texts that originally appeared as newspaper commentary on François Mitterand’s rise to power as France’s first Socialist president and the Socialist Party’s fraught alliance with the French Communist Party, The Divine Left in essence presents Baudrillard’s theory of the simulacrum as it operates in the political sphere.

“The need to speak, even if one has nothing to say, becomes more pressing when one has nothing to say, just as the will to live becomes more urgent when life has lost its meaning.”
--from The Ecstasy of Communication

History that repeats itself turns to farce. But a farce that repeats itself ends up making a history.
—from The Agony of Power

Alterity is in danger. It is a masterpiece in peril, an object lost or missing from our system, from the system of artificial intelligence and the system of communication in general.
—from Radical Alterity

When Fatal Strategies was first published in French in 1983, it represented a turning point for Jean Baudrillard: an utterly original, and for many readers, utterly bizarre book that offered a theory as proliferative, ecstatic, and hallucinatory as the postmodern world it endeavored to describe. Arguing against the predetermined outcomes of dialectical thought with his renowned, wry, ambivalent passion, with this volume Jean Baudrillard mounted an attack against the "false problems" posed by Western philosophy.

baudrillard1.jpgPublished one year after Forget Foucault, In the Shadow of the Silent Majorities (1978) may be the most important sociopolitical manifesto of the twentieth century: it calls for nothing less than the end of both sociology and politics. Disenfranchised revolutionaries (the Red Brigades, the Baader-Meinhof Gang) hoped to reach the masses directly through spectacular actions, but their message merely played into the hands of the media and the state.

baudrillard1.jpgIn 1976, Jean Baudrillard sent this essay to the French magazine Critique, where Michel Foucault was an editor. Foucault was asked to reply, but remained silent. Forget Foucault (1977) made Baudrillard instantly infamous in France. It was a devastating revisitation of Foucault's recent History of Sexuality—and of his entire oeuvre—and also an attack on those philosophers, like Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, who believed that desire could be revolutionary.

Writings from Utopie (1967–1978)

The Utopie group was born in 1966 at Henri Lefebvre's house in the Pyrenees. The eponymous journal edited by Hubert Tonka brought together sociologists Jean Baudrillard, René Lourau, and Catherine Cot, architects Jean Aubert, Jean-Paul Jungmann, Antoine Stinco, and landscape architect Isabelle Auricoste. Over the next decade, both in theory and in practice, the group articulated a radical ultra-leftist critique of architecture, urbanism, and everyday life.

Manifestos, Interviews, Essays

The images from Abu Ghraib are as murderous for America as those of the World Trade Center in flames. The whole West is contained in the burst of sadistic laughter of the American soldiers, as it is behind the construction of the Israeli wall. This is where the truth of these images lies. Truth, but not veracity. As virtual as the war itself, their specific violence adds to the specific violence of the war.

Simulations never existed as a book before it was "translated" into English. Actually it came from two different bookCovers written at different times by Jean Baudrillard. The first part of Simulations, and most provocative because it made a fiction of theory, was "The Procession of Simulacra." It had first been published in Simulacre et Simulations (1981). The second part, written much earlier and in a more academic mode, came from L'Echange Symbolique et la Mort (1977).