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Of bubbles and black holes: The role of form in the social theory of Baudrillard and Sloterdijk

Fardy, Jonathan (2015) Of bubbles and black holes: The role of form in the social theory of Baudrillard and Sloterdijk. The International Journal of Baudrillard Studies, 12 (1). ISSN 1705-6411

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Official URL: https://www2.ubishops.ca/baudrillardstudies/vol-12...

Abstract

Social theory is a conceptual instrument for logically linking and explaining diverse phenomena in a relatively coherent manner using a small number of postulates. Such postulates are often quite abstract like “interpellation” (Althusser), “class” (Marx), “hyperreality” (Baudrillard) and so on. But on occasion social theory takes form and sometimes it even assumes a certain shape. This is the case, I claim, with the work of Jean Baudrillard and Peter Sloterdijk.

In this essay I compare the figure of the black hole as presented most vividly in Baudrillard’s most important statement of social theory, In the Shadow of the Silent Majorities, or The End of the Social, with that of the sphere presented in Bubbles, the first instalment of Sloterdijk’s magnum opus Spheres. Baudrillard’s theory of the social takes the form of the black hole. He sees the social as having imploded on itself like a dying star. Sloterdijk’s social theory takes the form of the bubble. Modern subjects are figured as fragile bubbles ever in search of the spherical security of the Medieval world-view. Examining these two forms – black hole and bubble – reveals a host of related meta-philosophical and metaphysical entanglements between theory and reference in the domain of the social in the context of an economy of form-based concept production.

Item Type: Article
Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2018 15:44
Last Modified: 30 Apr 2018 15:44
URI: http://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/2220

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