Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Jean Baudrillard / "The Structural Law of value and the Order of Simulacra" – summary and review

Jean Baudrillard / "The Structural Law of value and the Order of Simulacra" – summary and review
part 1 - 2 - 3  


Jean Baudrillard's difficult "The Structural Law of value and the Order of Simulacra" is an attempted account of the shift in the lingual social field from modernity to post-modernity.
Jean Baudrillard opens his "The Structural Law of value and the Order of Simulacra" with the assertion that "symbolic exchange is no longer an organizing principle; it no longer functions at the level of modern social institutions". This assertion posed by Baudrillard needs to be understood in relation to lines of thought such as Pierre Bourdieu's concept of linguistic market  which views linguistic interactions as symbolic interactions following rules and structures of social formations. Contrary to Bourdieu, Baudrillard seems to be arguing that symbolic exchange are no longer an organizing principle and is has stopped functioning as a social institution. The ordered system theorized by Bourdieu collapses, according to Baudrillard, with the transition from modernity to postmodernity.
According to Baudrillard in "The Structural Law of value and the Order of Simulacra" we live at a time in which the linguistic market has no regularity. Words and language gain autonomy of their own and the rigid control over the meaning of language is open for subversion.
Like Bourdieu, Baudrillard thinks that the social system is never without an ideology which hides itself behind what is presented as "natural" and self evident. However, Baudrillard claims that with the transition into the post-industrial era we enter a new structure of simulation and simulacra that operate in the virtual space. This new structure is detached from the "realness" that characterized the modern age. The rules of economy are now replaced by a new order that mixes reality and representation. According to Bourdirllard the economy of production is replaced by simulation.
According to Baudrillard the transition from modernity to postmodernity is also a transition from a "real" order of values to an imagined one. This does not mean that Bourdrillard is arguing that in the modern world things are real and in the postmodern world are detached from reality, but rather that the modern world tends to present its values as real and as having to do with the social system while the post modern world and its relative nature allows for autonomy for linguistic practices which are not measured easily by its value in the linguistic market. If Bourdieu's linguistic market had a closed and hierarchic structure, Baudrillard's simulation allows for much more freedom and equality which are the result of the virtual. Imagined or otherwise unreal nature of the visions we encounter.

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Jean Baudrillard / "The Structural Law of value and the Order of Simulacra" – summary and review
part 1 - 2 - 3 

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