In works such as Simulacra and Simulation, how does Jean Baudrillard describe the material body in relation to the hyperreality of consumerism? Thanks.

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kjtracy eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jean Baudrillard's view on the relationship between the material body and the hyperreality of consumerism is most clear in Simulacra and Simulation. This work breaks the process of simulation into four sign-order stages. The first stage is a faithful copy of the original. The second stage is a copy that is a perversion of the material body in some way while still maintaining many of its original properties. The third stage is a copy with no original. The fourth stage is pure simulation, and it is in this stage that the simulation has no connection to the material body or reality whatsoever.

The Material Body and Consumerism

Baudrillard connects the concepts of the material body and the hyperreality of consumerism in the fourth stage of the sign-order stages. In this stage, there is no need for consumer products to maintain any claims of originality. The culture itself becomes artificial, and artificial products lend themselves more easily to consumer culture. In this way, the lives of consumers become so artificial they take on hyperreality. Reality itself becomes a sentimental concept and fundamentally unnecessary to the artificial culture.

Hyperreality is an interesting concept in the context of a consumer-driven society. Baudrillard defines hyperreality itself as a state that is "more real than real." The artificial or the fake embodies the qualities of the original more than reality itself.