RELATED TERMS: Material Culture

In The System of Objects, Jean Baudrillard argues that,

“Every object has two functions – to be put to use and to be possessed. The first involves the field of the world’s practical totalization by the subject, the second an abstract totalization of the subject undertaken by the subject himself outside of the world. These two functions stand in inverse ratio to each other. At one extreme, the strictly practical object acquires a social status: this is the case of the machine. At the opposite extreme, the pure object, devoid of any function or completely abstracted from its use, takes on a strictly subjective status: it becomes part of a collection.”


Baudrillard, J. (1968). The System of Objects. London: Verso.