n Communicare : Journal for Communication Sciences in Southern Africa - The ecstasy of communication. Critical remarks on Jean Baudrillard : research article

Volume 25, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0259-0069



The socio-cultural criticism of Jean Baudrillard (born 1929), spans from the political turmoil of France in the late-1960s, to the mediatised world of the 1990s and early 21st century. In this process his provocative work on the socio-political role of signs, symbolic exchange, simulation, and hyperreality has important implications for communication studies - and more specifically communication theory. The point is that with the "... greater mediatization of society ... we are witnessing the virtualization of our world." This contribution briefly reconstructs, firstly, two phases in Baudrillard's intellectual career - phases that shifted from an early neo-Marxist critique of the modern consumer society to a post-Marxist or postmodern view of society (which include engagements with socio-anthropology; psychoanalysis, sociology, semiology and media theory), and eventually ends in a kind of anti-theory with an extreme fatal vision of the world. In section 2 the implications of these two shifts in Baudrillard's intellectual career are contextualized in the field of media and communication studies - and specifically his concept of the "ecstasy of communication". Finally (in Section 3) some critical remarks are made on Baudrillard's fascinating, but problematic, project.

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