University of California, Los Angeles, USA
Jean Baudrillard (1929–2007) first emerged as an important theorist of consumption and the consumer society. His early work in these areas focuses on what he called the system of objects, the consumer society, and a critique of the political economy of the sign. These texts combined neo-Marxian social theory with the sort of cultural semiotics associated with Roland Barthes, the critique of everyday life associated with Henri Lefebvre, and the radical critique of existing consumer society by Guy Debord and the Situationists (see Kellner 1989).
During the late 1960s, Baudrillard began publishing a series of books that would eventually make him world famous. Influenced by Henri Lefebvre, Roland Barthes, Georges Bataille, and Guy Debord and the French Situationists, Baudrillard undertook serious work in the field of social theory, semiology, and psychoanalysis and published his first book The System of Objects in 1968, followed by The Consumer Society in 1970, and For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign in 1972. These early publications are attempts, within the framework of critical sociology, to combine the studies of everyday life initiated by Lefebvre and Debord and the Situationists with a social semiology that studies the life of signs in social life (see Genosko 1994). Along with Lefebvre, Debord, and the Situationists, Baudrillard was suggesting that ...