Essay: Giddens' Late Modernity and Baudrillard' Postmodernity

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Historian Comparison

Giddens's late modernity and Baudrillard's postmodernity.

Compare and contrast: Giddens' modernity and Baudrillard's postmodernity

Compare and contrast: Giddens' late modernity and Baudrillard's postmodernity

For postmodern historians like Jean Baudrillard, history is less a series of facts and figures than a springboard for musing about the human condition. As a philosopher and cultural critic, Baudrillard sees the perceived distance between 'the real' and the 'image' in modern society as fundamentally altering the way that human beings relate to the present and to the past. "History is our lost referential, that is to say our myth…the great event of this period, the great trauma, is this decline of strong referentials, these death pangs of the real and of the rational that open onto an age of simulation" (Felluga, 2001, Modules). Simulations, or simulacrums, are ideas or concepts that 'replace' what are real with something that was once supposed to only be a representation. Representations become reality in the postmodern world.

A good example of a simulacrum might be Disneyworld's Epcot Center, where many countries are simulated in miniature. The copy of France, as represented by a replica of the Eiffel Tower and some pastry shops, becomes more like France than France itself in the mind of the viewer. The word 'Watergate' comes to represent a specific political scandal rather than the building and soon the word comes to take on a life of its own and is used to convey a variety of forms of political scandals and corruption, such as 'Monica-gate' (Felluga, 2001, Definition)..

Perhaps the most frightening example of 'simulacra' discussed by Baudrillard is that of an NBC miniseries on the Holocaust whereby: "One no longer makes the Jews pass through the crematorium or the gas chamber, but through the sound track and image track, through the universal screen and the microprocessor. Forgetting, annihilation, finally achieves its aesthetic dimension in this way -- it is achieved in retro, finally elevated here to a mass level" (Felluga, 2001, Modules). The impact of the representation transcends the impact of the reality. However, it is also worth asking if, by simply critiquing cultural products rather than describing lived history, Baudrillard contributes to this sense of collective forgetting.

Anthony Giddens likewise suggests that human beings often lack a sense of control and empowerment over the symbols that make up language and culture. However, in contrast to Baudrillard who stresses the unconscious and often unnoticed replacement of 'the real' by a symbol, for Giddens, such a replacement often causes a very obvious sense of friction, in contrast to Baudrillard's stress on the subtlety… [END OF PREVIEW]

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APA Format

Giddens' Late Modernity and Baudrillard' Postmodernity.  (2010, April 29).  Retrieved July 22, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Giddens' Late Modernity and Baudrillard' Postmodernity."  29 April 2010.  Web.  22 July 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Giddens' Late Modernity and Baudrillard' Postmodernity."  April 29, 2010.  Accessed July 22, 2019.