'Pressing Freudian and Saussurean categories into the service of a basically Marxist perspective, The System of Objects offers a cultural critique of the commodity in consumer society. Baudrillard classifies the everyday objects of the “new technical order” as functional, nonfunctional and metafunctional. He contrasts “modern” and “traditional” functional objects, subjecting home furnishing and interior design to a celebrated semiological analysis. His treatment of nonfunctional or “marginal” objects focuses on antiques and the psychology of collecting, while the metafunctional category extends to the useless, the aberrant and even the “schizofunctional.” Finally, Baudrillard deals at length with the implications of credit and advertising for the commodification of everyday life.' - from publisher's website.
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Chapter headings
The Functional System, or Objective Discourse
I. Structures of Interior Design
The Traditional Environment
The Modern Object Liberated in its Function
The Model Interior
Modular Components
Walls and Daylight
Mirrors and Portraits
Clocks and Time
Towards a Sociology of Interior Design?
Man the Interior Designer
II. Structures of Atmosphere
Atmospheric Values: Colour
Traditional Colour
'Natural' Colour
'Functional' Colour
Hot and Cold
Atmospheric Values: Materials
Natural Wood/Cultural Wood
The Logic of Atmosphere
A Model Material: Glass
The Man of Relationship and Atmosphere
Cultural Connotation and Censorship
Atmospheric Values: Gestural Systems and Forms
The Traditional Gestural System: Effort
The Functional Gestural System: Control
A New Operational Field
Stylization, Manipulability, Envelopment
The End of the Symbolic Dimension
The Abstractness of Power
The Functionalist Myth
Functional Form: The Lighter
Formal Connotation: Tail Fins
Form as Camouflage
III. Conclusion: Naturalness and Functionality
Addendum: The Domestic World and the Car
The Non-Functional System, or Subjective Discourse
I. Marginal Objects: Antiques
Atmospheric Value: Historicalness
Symbolic Value: The Myth of the Origin
The Neo-Cultural Syndrome: Restoration
Synchronism, Diachronism, Anachronism
Reverse Projection: The Technical Object and Primitive Man
The Market in Antiques
Cultural Neo-Imperialism
II. A Marginal System: Collecting
The Object Abstracted from Its Function
The Object as Passion
The Finest of Domestic Animals
A Serial Game
From Quantity to Quality: The Unique Object
Objects and Habits: Wrist-Watches
Objects and Time: A Controlled Cycle
The Sequestered Object: Jealousy
The Object Destructured: Perversion
From Serial Motivation to Real Motivation
A Discourse Addressed to Oneself
The Metafunctional and Dysfunctional System: Gadgets and Robots
Technical Connotation: Automatism
'Functional' Transcendence
Functional Abberation: Gadgets
Pseudo-Functionality: Gizmos
Metafunctionality: Robots
The Transformations of Technology
Technics and the Unconscious System
The Socio-Ideological System of Objects and Their Consumption
I. Models and Series
The Pre-Industrial Object and the Industrial Model
The 'Personalized' Object
Marginal Difference
The Ideal Nature of Models
From the Model to the Series
The Technical Deficit of the Serial Object
The 'Style' Deficit of the Serial Object
Class Differences
The Present as Privilege
A Misadventure of the Person
The Ideology of Models
II. Credit
Rights and Duties of the Consumer-Citizen
The Precedence of Consumption: A New Ethic
The Obligation to Buy
The Miracle of Buying
The Ambiguity of the Domestic Object
III. Advertising
Discourse on Objects and Discourse-As-Object
Advertising in the Indicative and in the Imperative
The Logic of Father Christmas
Society as Maternal Agency: Airborne's Armchair
The Festival of Buying Power
Gratification/Repression: A Two-Sided Agency
The Presumption of Collectivity
Pax Washing Powder
Promotional Contests
A New Humanism?
Serial Conditioning
Freedom by Default
A New Language?
Structure and Demarcation: Brands
A Universal Code: Status
Conclusion: Towards a Definition of 'Consumption'
The System of Objects
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The System of Objects