chapter  4
18 Pages

Baudrillard for sociologists

WithBryan S. Turner

Sociology was a science of moral facts, which would replace the individualistic doctrine of ethical life which was the legacy of Kant. For writers like Jean Baudrillard, in so far as the mass, in a society of global and extended consumption, has replaced 'the social', then sociology becomes a Baudrillard for sociologists. Baudrillard's is equally clear that it is the political which has suffered an abrupt and devastating termination. In historical terms, 'the political' arose in the Renaissance with Machiavelli's science of pure strategy, but the political has been finally subordinated, especially in Marxism, to the social. Baudrillard is widely regarded in sociology as the postmodernist par excellence. K. H. Chen refers to Baudrillard's theory as a case of 'implosive postmodernism'; D. Kellner clearly identifies Baudrillard as part of the collapse of Marxism into postmodernism; and S. Lash regards Baudrillard's work as 'an uncritical and even irresponsible celebration' of postmodernism.