The System of Objects
ISBN: 1844670538
EAN13: 9781844670536
Language: English
Pages: 224
Weight: 1.00 lbs.
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Verso
Book Overview
The System of Objects is a tour de force--a theoretical letter-in-a-bottle tossed into the ocean in 1968, which brilliantly communicates to us all the live ideas of the day. 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. The System of Objects is a tour de force of the materialist semiotics of the early Baudrillard, who emerges in retrospect as something of a lightning rod for all the live ideas of the day: Bataille's political economy of expenditure and Mauss's theory of the gift; Reisman's lonely crowd and the technological society of Jacques Ellul; the structuralism of Roland Barthes in The System of Fashion; Henri Lefebvre's work on the social construction of space; and last, but not least, Guy Debord's situationist critique of the spectacle.