The Spirit of Terrorism

The Spirit of Terrorism

Written in 2002, this is a translation of Jean Baudrillard's optic on the way that martyrdom has transformed liberal values and influenced state repression.

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Until September 11 we had had no symbolic event on a world scale that marked a setback for globalization itself.

Baudrillard sees the power of the terrorists as lying in the symbolism of slaughter – not merely the reality of death, but in a sacrifice that challenges the whole system. Where previously the old revolutionary sought to conduct a struggle between real forces in the context of ideology and politics, the new terrorist mounts a powerful symbolic challenge which, when combined with high-tech resources, constitutes an unprecedented assault on an over-sophisticated and vulnerable West. This new edition is updated with the essays “Hypotheses on Terrorism” and “Violence of the Global.”


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