This article focuses on two phases of Baudrillard's theorizing about models; the first from his early analyses of consumer society and its array of objects, and the second from his concern with simulation. Baudrillard often used the concepts of model and simulation interchangeably, entailing an absolute critique of the model in its difference from symbolic exchange. However, my task is to delicately separate these concepts by inserting Baudrillard's discussion of modeling into a philosophy of science context in which modeling appears aligned but not reducible to simulation. In short, a middle ground is sought. To this end I introduce the mediating models perspective. Further, Baudrillard's example of how his position on modeling may be applied is directed at models of communication, specifically Roman Jakobson's poetic model and, in particular, my interest is in how Baudrillard isolates the phatic function in a way that turns communication into simulation. I conclude with the need for a strategy of reading Baudrillard on modeling that detotalizes simulation and allows for something of the symbolic to persist in communication.
No More Models: Baudrillard's Critique of Communication
GARY GENOSKO IS CANADA RESEARCH CHAIR IN TECHNOCULTURE AND PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY AT LAKEHEAD UNIVERSITY IN THUNDER BAY, CANADA. HE IS ALSO VISITING PROFESSOR AT THE FACULTY OF INFORMATION, UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO. HIS BOOKS ON BAUDRILLARD INCLUDE BAUDRILLARD AND SIGNS (ROUTLEDGE, 1994), MCLUHAN AND BAUDRILLARD: THE MASTERS OF IMPLOSION (ROUTLEDGE, 1999), AND THE UNCOLLECTED BAUDRILLARD (SAGE, 2001). HIS LATEST BOOK IS MODELING COMMUNICATION: FROM WWII TO THE WWW (UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO, IN PRESS).