18th January 2017 Chapter 5 Political Economy and Death (p. 125-194) from Baudrillard, Jean 1993. Symbolic Exchange and Death. London/Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications. Chaired by Miriam Schreiter.

Here’s how it starts: As soon as savages began to call ‘men’ only those who were members of their tribe, the definition of the ‘Human’ was considerably enlarged: it became a universal concept. This is precisely what we call culture. Today all men are men. Universality is in fact based exclusively on tautology and doubling, and this is where the ‘Human’ takes on the force of a moral law and a principle of exclusion. …

4-5PM, Bowland North B37 (Mobilities Lab).

Everyone is invited to attend and join in the discussion. If you can’t be there in person, Skype is possible. Please contact p.drinkall@lancaster.ac.uk for a copy of the reading.

Miriam is a visiting PhD in CeMoRe. In her PhD project, she examines representations of death and dying in digital games. She is interested in transmedial mobilites of images, themes, ideas, symbols, and objects related to death and dying. In Germany Miriam is a research and teaching assistant at the chair of Intercultural Communication at Chemnitz University of Technology. Her interests include corporeality/physicality, digital worlds and games, and qualitative research methods, especially ethnography.
My interest in the text: As the focus of my studies are representations of death and dying in digital games, I am interested in contemporary ideas on death and how they are communicated through digital games. Baudrillard has developed some rather striking ideas about death that are presented in the selected chapter. Opposing the very prominent and popular approach of death denial, his view on death in contemporary society is inherently critic and very inspiring. Furthermore, his thoughts on death are strongly connected to the political and the economical. Apart from that, he has produced very influential theories of media and consumer culture. Since digital games are mass media products, I am interested in Baudrillard’s very inspiring writings in general.
Relation to mobilities: Baudrillard’s writings involve strong notions of mobilities especially related to the dead. According to him, the dead in our society are removed of the symbolic circulation and are no longer partners in exchange. Furthermore, dead bodies have been subject to relocation practices over the ages (e.g. from inside the church, to the churchyard, to the graveyard out of town). According to Baudrillard, they have undergone a continuous movement towards the periphery of physical and mental spaces, finally resulting in having no place to go anymore.

Image: Amazon