For Baudrillard, as for the situationists, it was consumption rather than production that was the main driver of capitalist society. Baudrillard argued, drawing from Georges Bataille , that needs are constructed, rather than innate. He stressed that all purchases, because they always signify something socially, have their fetishistic side. Objects always, drawing from Roland Barthes , "say something" about their users. And this was, for him, why consumption was and remains more important than production: because the "ideological genesis of needs" precedes the production of goods to meet those needs.
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Dec 03, Stafford Davis rated it it was amazing Perhaps the most immediate and explicit elucidation of the themes in Jean Baudrillards posthumous book, Carnival and Cannibal, is the front cover illustration. The arresting amalgamation of images portrays a reproduction of an early 20th century minstrel show poster that depicts a white mans partial face alongside his full likeness as painted in blackface with a superadded masquerade mask.
Finally, the book can be regarded as a companion piece to another posthumous Baudrillard text, The Agony of Power, in which many of the same themes are explored. This impetus provides the model of carnival and cannibal that Baudrillard is working within.
However, in the process of assimilation, the ideologically colonized or rather, neocolonized, begin to undermine and cannibalize their faux benefactors. It is a humiliation of a limited acculturation that both prevents complete acceptance and mocks the colonized.
Baudrillard claims that the carnivalized internalize the influences of hegemony and then turn on their oppressors as their representations of Western values are distorted simulations that function to cannibalize. It is in a once removed mimicry of seemingly universal values that cannibalization begins to devour its subjugation, as well as itself. Herein, the heart of the issue is the concept of the universal. Baudrillard turns to 21st century American politics as exemplary of cannibalization.
He states that the US has been carnivalized and has become a caricature of the democracy it so proudly sermonizes. In the guise of leaders like George W. Bush and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the US portray simulations of power, that are in fact, signs of its cannibalization.
It is important, here, to indicate the issue of power and its universal ideals that is the issue. In using the US as an example, Baudrillard is merely using the most representative example of power itself. This idealization and then universalization of power is an Enlightenment concept, according to Baudrillard. Rather, those in power tend to represent the credulity of their dominion, or even worse, the reverse psychology of bestowing power to the innocuous and unsophisticated so that the dominion may feel an intellectual power over and above that of their leaders.
The doomed cycle of carnival and cannibal is the result of the problematic belief in power. Baudrillard makes the bold statement: "It is power itself that has to be abolished — and not just in the refusal to be dominated, which is the essence of all traditional struggles, but equally and as violently in the refusal to dominate. For domination implies both these things, and if there were the same violence or energy in the refusal to dominate, we would long ago have stopped dreaming of revolution The old values are now parodies of themselves in their simulated universalization that seduces the carnivalized Global South.
It is the enchantment, the lurid draw of the freedom from domination and the desire to have the kind of power that the North wields, that is the carnivalized simulacrum. An undeniably sad predicament. Baudrillard reiterates that the subsequent cannibalization destroys everything, so that any benefit that the US seems to have in global capitalism will ultimately be devoured by the powerless and their hopes to attain a faulty universal ideal.
He begins with a dyadic strategy analyzing, in comparison, domination and hegemony. He notes that while they are both forms of power that are easily confused, they nonetheless, are very different. Domination is a power that is defined against a lack of power, in that, it is what it is not — which is the dominated.
This dialectic is mutually dependent because the dominator needs the dominated to be effective. There is no domination without this imbalance of power. Hegemony, on the other hand, does not need an opposition like the dominated.
Rather, it is a form of power that administers an indirect control through influence that obviates any noncooperation. It institutes use value in a unilateral system that only maximizes the processes of production. The definition that Baudrillard provides expresses the way in which invalidation is a substantive means of control: "[T]he hegemonic form tends quite simply to liquidate its opponents, regarding them as worthless, eccentric and residual.
A style of foreclosure of a delinquent minority — exactly parallel to the theological position which contends that Evil does not exist Hegemony is the obliteration of difference. Baudrillard proclaims that hegemony is an unstoppable movement of history. It is natural, in a sense, and its control is inescapable. Its movement diffuses and abstracts in a manner that can be comparable to the ways in which modern technological platforms and global capital influence and then disembody the real.
As capital, or rather technological global capital, facilitates the disappearance of the realm of the real, so too will it aid the disintegration of the subject. Without embodiment, or structures to contain this accelerating process, notions such as, knowledge, freedom, history, and ultimately agency, are weakened to the point of submission. This gradual creeping of hegemony produces a capitalism in which all evaluative measures and decisions have no frame of reference outside of hegemony.
This is to say, things and concepts that are material or abstract are understood in an evaluative sense related to capital. The flow or process that is capitalism is the medium to which all value is measured against. To reinforce this notion of hegemonic structure, Baudrillard introduces some artistic perspectives. Baudrillard relates this to a kind of fundamentalism of a technocracy that has no base and is always mobile.
Money has lost its narrative quality the way painting did once upon a time. This is the simulative system that has consumed or dematerialized the relationship of good and evil. It is an ethics that is always truthful and always good. The title of the essay derives from this lateralized exclusivity. The truthful good is much better at reproducing itself because it is not evil. However, with the collapse of difference there is only the good without prohibition.
Everything is internal so that something can only know itself by way of its own voice, like an echo within. He elaborates that this concept, derived from the hegemony of global capital, comes from a certain arrogant communication that bypasses any negative criticism of itself. This, he suggests, is the cynicism of modernity that is constantly bolstering itself and deriding an opposition in the same instance.
In effect, this ventriloquism removes the capacity of disapproval. It pacifies through disengagement of critical action and thought.
The hegemony is the force of working, indifferently or not, to exhaustion to then be relieved with distractions like entertainment or addiction. It becomes a banal celebration of reduced competency that he likens to stupidity. In this hegemony, everything is almost reduced to a singularity.
What is not, is noncooperation that cannot be put to use through any means. To not participate is to be an outcast and is unthinkable in many senses of the word. This is due to the control of meaning and truth in the self-relational echo of ventriloquism. For he argues that the hegemonic pursuit of definitive meaning hampers a certain kind of intelligence that is beyond classification.
Baudrillard is suggesting that too much meaning as a consequence of technology and science can be a contaminative phenomena that pollutes any access to enigma. Baudrillard asks for a new kind of antagonism that attempts to rejuvenate the outcast soul at the core of power.
Carnival and Cannibal, or the Play of Global Antagonism
Acemi Okur rated it really liked it May 09, This is the paradox of universal values: Skip to content Skip to search. Public Private login e. Separate different tags with a comma. We live in a world dominated by simulated experiences and feelings, Jean Baudrillard believes, and have lost the capacity to comprehend reality as it actually exists. Baudrillard is not an author whose meaning is all at once clear. The University of Melbourne.
Carnival and Cannibal, Or The Play of Global Antagonism
Dec 03, Stafford Davis rated it it was amazing Perhaps the most immediate and explicit elucidation of the themes in Jean Baudrillards posthumous book, Carnival and Cannibal, is the front cover illustration. The arresting amalgamation of images portrays a reproduction of an early 20th century minstrel show poster that depicts a white mans partial face alongside his full likeness as painted in blackface with a superadded masquerade mask. Finally, the book can be regarded as a companion piece to another posthumous Baudrillard text, The Agony of Power, in which many of the same themes are explored. This impetus provides the model of carnival and cannibal that Baudrillard is working within. However, in the process of assimilation, the ideologically colonized or rather, neocolonized, begin to undermine and cannibalize their faux benefactors.
Mutaxe If all the people decked out in the signs of whiteness and with all the exotic technologies are at the same time the living parody of these things, a deriding of them, this is because these things are quite simply laughable, but we can no longer see it. It is the whole of whiteness that buries blackness beneath the features of Carnival. Brian rated it it was ok Sep 07, Return to Book Page. Excerpt: Carnival and Cannibal by Jean Baudrillard It is all a great collective spectacle, in which cannibbal West decks itself out not only in the spoils of all the other cultures—in its museums, fashions and art—but also in the spoils of its own culture. Josh rated it really liked it Oct 02, Refresh and try again. This is the paradox of universal values: Jan 21, Scott Connelly rated it liked it. City of Parramatta Libraries.
Carnival and Cannibal