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Karen Bettez Halnon

Subject Sociological and Social Theory » Postmodern Theory

People Baudrillard, Jean

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


French postmodernist critic Jean Baudrillard's theory of implosion is one of social entropy, wherein he asserts that a consumer age of information, media, and mass media has ushered in an accelerated and coercive hyperproduction of meaning and information to the “irrational” and “terroristic” extent that all meaning, knowledge, and subjectivity, and the “social” itself, are neutralized and ultimately collapse. All that is left, he says, is an imploding “mass,” described dramatically as “an in vacuo aggregation of individual particles, refuse of the social and of media impulses; an opaque nebula whose growing density absorbs all the surrounding energy and light rays, to collapse finally under its own weight” ( Baudrillard 1983 : 3–4). In other words, amid ubiquitous and proliferating media-generated information in a consumer society of simulacra and simulation, information ceases to be productive, in the sense of transformation of it by human subjects. It is destructive energy, producing even more implosive density, more mass. Best and Kellner (1991 : 121) further summarize Baudrillard's theory of implosion, a basic point of reference for postmodern theory: “The social thus disappears and with it distinctions implode between classes, political ideologies, cultural forms, and between media semiurgy and the real itself … Baudrillard is not only describing a series of implosions (that ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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