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Without doubt, Jean Baudrillard is one of the most important figures currently working in the area of sociology an dcultural studies, but his writings infuriate as many people as they intoxcicate. This collection provides a wide-ranging, measured assessment of Baudrillard's work. The contributors examine Baudrillard's relation to consumption, modernity, postmodernity, social theory, feminism, politics and culture. They attempt to steer a clear course between the hype which Baudrillard himself has done much to generate, and the solid value of his startling thoughts. Baudrillard's ideas and style of expression provide a challenge to established academic ways of proceeding and thinking. The book explores this challenge and speculates on the reason for the extreme responses to Baudrillard's work. The appeal of Baudrillard's arguments is clearly discussed and his place in contemporary social theory is shrewdly assessed. Baudrillard emerges as a chameleon figure, but one who is obsessed with the central themes of style, hypocrisy, seduction, simulation and fatality. Although these themes abound in postmodern thought, they are also evident in a certain strand of modernist thought - one which embraces the writings of Baudelaire and Nietzsche. Baudrillard's protestation is that he is not a postmodernist is taken seriously in this collection. The balanced and accessible style of the contributions and the fairness and rigour of the assessments make this book of pressing interest to students of sociology, philosophy and cultural studies.

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