Baudrillard, Hyperreality, and Marxism

Through his concept of hyperreality, Baudrillard throws a wrench into productivist theories of capital. And his throwing of the wrench is simultaneous with his throwing in of the towel, while Steven Best and Douglas Kellner spend chapter three trying to resuscitate the corpse of Marxism.[1] True, they concede, a limited productivist metaphor may not be totally applicable to late capitalist phenomena, but this deficiency does not immediately discredit Marxism. They say that hyperreality is the extremity of Baudrillard’s otherwise balanced insight into simulacrum. It’s fault is that it is incompatible with residual forms of domination, which are still active. To contrast with Baudrillard’s fatalism, Best and Kellner offer the figure of Guy Debord. Debord is a prime example of a theoretician who saw the same cultural phenomenon as Baudrillard (compare the society of the spectacle to the ecstasy of communication) and was dismayed yet not (initially) overcome by the morass. The inspirational insight that Debord shared with Best and Kellner is that moments of resistance are possible and desirable, something that Baudrillard denies by establishing a hyperreal world.

Continued.

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About D C

Robot anarchist View all posts by D C

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