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October 2021

Television is killing the art of symbolic exchange - Baudrillard's theory of communication

Journal/Book: Theor Cult Soc. 1999; 16: 6 Bonhill Street, London EC2a 4Pu, England. Sage Publications Ltd. 119+.

Abstract: The starting point for any understanding of Jean Baudrillard's media theory is his concept of 'communication'. This is heavily indebted to his theory of symbolic exchange, drawn from the Durkheimian tradition running through Durkheim, Mauss, Caillois and Bataille. Common to all these authors is s specific view of human relations, derived from their anthropology, as involving both a communication and a confrontation. Baudrillard, therefore, sees the modern semiotic order as based on the destruction of these symbolic relations, and its media accordingly as founded on a 'non-communication'. In symbolic exchange, however, Baudrillard presents a complete and coherent theory of power, and his theory of communication illustrates the possibilities of transformation and reversal of established power and the system of non-communication which the reinstitution of symbolic relations can bring about.

Note: Article Merrin W, Univ Derby, Derby DE22 1GB, ENGLAND


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