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Jean Baudrillard (1929)

Jean Baudrillard, notorious French sociologist, cultural critic, and theorist of postmodernity, was born in 1929 in the northern town of Reims. His early life is influenced by the Algerian war in the 1950s and 60s. He taught German in a Lycée before completing his doctoral thesis in sociology. He then became an Assistant in September 1966 at Nanterre University of Paris X. He was associated with Roland Barthes, to whose semiotic analysis of culture his first book, "The Object System" (1968) is clearly indebted. Influenced by the student revolt at Nanterre University in 1968, he cooperated with a typical journal of the time, Utopie, evidently influenced by anarcho-situationism, structural Marxism and media theory.
Baudrillard is a thinker who builds on what was being thought by others and breaks through via a key reversal of logic to make fresh analysis. He has been influenced by Mauss (important to Levi-Strauss in the Durkheimian objectivity and linguistic-sociological interface) and Bataille (who wrote surreally and erotically), as well as Satre, Dostoyevsky, Nietzsche, the Situationists and Surrealism. Another background influence is Freud and pyschoanalysis, but far more direct is Marxism. Baudrillard's philosophy centers on the twin concepts of "hyperreality" and "simulation." These terms refers to the virtual or unreal nature of contemporary culture in an age of mass communication and mass consumption.
Works: "The System of Objects and Consumer Society" (1968), "For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign" (1972) and "The Mirror of Production" (1973), "In the Shadow of the Silent Majorities" (1983), "The Perfect Crime" (1996).

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