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Gilles Lipovetsky

Lipovetsky redirects here. For other uses, see become one of the most important French intellectuals of
Lipovetsky (disambiguation). the latter 20th century.[3][4]
Gilles Lipovetsky (born September 24, 1944 in Millau)
Along with tenure, he has received two honorary doc-
torates from the Universit de Sherbrooke in Qubec
(Canada) and from the New Bulgarian University in Soa,
membership in the Conseil d'analyse de la socit of
the French government, knighthood in the Legion of
Honor, membership in the National Council of Programs
and is a consultant with the Association of Management

2 Ideas

Lipovetsky began his philosophical career as a Marxist,

similar to many others in the 1960s, aliated with the
Socialisme ou Barbarie which demanded the world not
to transform it but rather to swallow it.[2][6] However,
since then, his philosophy has changed signicantly, in-
cluding the acceptance of capitalism as the only legit-
imate economic model.[1] When questioned about his
change in stance from his Marxist beginning he replies
Only idiots never change opinion.[6]
Lipovetskys work focuses on the modern world from the
latter 20th century to the present. His has divided this
time period into three periods: Marxist self criticism
(1965-1983), post- modern (1983-1991) and the hyper
modern period from 1991 on. This began with his 1983
book, which declared the world to be post-modern, char-
Lipotevsky acterized by extreme individualism and the dissolution
of politics based on political parties, turning its back on
is a French philosopher, writer and sociologist, professor a strong sense of social duty on which democracy and
at the University of Grenoble. socialism depend. However, by the end of the 2000s,
he proposed that this term had become obsolete and un-
able to describe the world past 1991. He then proposed
hyper-modern, similar to post-modern but with a su-
1 Life and career perlative and unstoppable meaning, focusing on new tech-
nologies, markets, and global culture.[2][5]
Lipovetsky was born in Millau in 1944. He studied phi- From his 1983 book which brought him to prominence,
losophy at University of Grenoble, and participated in the Lipovetsky has continued to write on topics such as
1968 student uprising in Paris to change the French ed- modernity, globalization, consumerism, modern culture,
ucational model. However he criticizes the model that markets, feminism, fashion, and media, but they have the
came from that as producing alienated individuals with common thread of individualism.[3] He denes individ-
fragile personalities prone to emotional disorder due to ualism as the desire to break with tradition and the past
hedonism and immediate gratication.[1][2] and to look towards the future and our own pleasure.[7]
He began his academic career teaching classes with his In 1987 he wrote L'Empire de l'phmre : la mode et
alma mater. With the success of his rst book, he has son destin dans les socits modernes continuing the ar-
become well known in many parts of the world and has gument of the 1983 work focusing on fashion as a re-


ection of individualism and hyper consumerism. It also with capitalism.[1][10]

indicates the desire to be young forever and that only the Lipovetsky does not have a well-dened style of presenta-
here-and-now exists.[2] In 1992 he published Le Crpus- tion, varying among manners of speaking similar to that
cule du devoir. In this work he states that the vision of psychologist or sociologist as well as philosopher often
of a secular world started with Martin Luther's revolt gesturing emphatically. His methodology varies as well,
against the Catholic Church, and developed by thinkers and often deals in paradoxes. His approach to issues is al-
such as Ren Descartes, Kant and Thomas Aquinas [be- most nonexistent epistemologically. There is also strong
ware: this is not possible, since Thomas Aquinas lived inuence in his writing from French literature although
more than two centuries before Martin Luther; there must
he does not write ction.[1][2]
be a misunderstanding], leading to the idea that one pur-
pose of God is to dene and protect individual rights.
In La Troisime femme in 1997 he argues the idea that
the womens liberation movement is strongly connected to 3 Publication list
hyper consumerism as women are the main customers of
luxury goods.[2] In Mtamorphoses de la culture librale L're du vide : Essais sur l'individualisme contem-
thique, mdias, entreprise in 2002, he examines the porain, Gallimard, 1983
paradoxes of hyper modern democracies, with empha-
sis both on the individual, regionalization vs. globaliza- L'Empire de l'phmre : la mode et son destin dans
tion and the collective and a society that is both open les socits modernes, Gallimard, 1987
and closed, concluding that they are interdependent. The
2003 book Le luxe ternel examines the concept of lux- Le Crpuscule du devoir, Gallimard, 1992
ury over human history. Le bonheur paradoxal. Essai
sur la socit d'hyperconsommation in 2006 examines the La Troisime femme, Gallimard, 1997
multiplication and globalization of major brands and the
Mtamorphoses de la culture librale thique, m-
connection between fashion and luxury which is the ba-
dias, entreprise, Montral, dition Liber, 2002
sis of hyper-consumerism. In La socit de dception
(2006) he analyzes the concept of disappointment follow- Le luxe ternel (with Elyette Roux), ditions Galli-
ing on the work of Jacques Lacan that desire creates a vac- mard, 2003
uum and can never be lled. In L'cran global. Culture-
mdias et cinma l'ge hypermoderne (2007) he anal- Les temps hypermodernes, ditions Grasset, 2004
yses a second modern revolution declaring the end of
post modernism, arguing that paradoxes are multiplying Le bonheur paradoxal. Essai sur la socit
due to the complexity of modern life.[2] His 2013 book, d'hyperconsommation, ditions Gallimard, 2006
L'esthtisation du monde : vivre l'ge du capitalisme
artiste focuses on capitalism and its relationship to art, La socit de dception, ditions Textuel, 2006
especially the cinema.[5][8]
L'cran global. Culture-mdias et cinma l'ge hy-
Lipovetsky has made provocative statements on mod- permoderne (with Jean Serroy), Seuil, 2007
ern life and elements related to it, which have been of-
ten at odds with intellectual trends of the last decades. La Culture-monde. Rponse une socit dsorien-
He has compared fashion with democracy as unstable, te, Paris, Odile Jacob, 2008 (with Jean Serroy)
ephemeral and supercial, but states it as a positive and
more workable then a more interdependent society.[2][9] L'Occident mondialis : Controverse sur la culture
He states that the focus of modern life is the new, which plantaire, Paris, Grasset, 2010 (with Herv Juvin)
then quickly becomes old and we look for something else,
leading to his notion of hyper as this need for new
becomes faster in the age of Internet and social media,
which also breaks down traditional institutions such as
4 See also
nation and family.[3] Even culture succumbs to this, ac-
cording to him, as people go to museums more as tourists Homo consumericus
rather than for education.[4] The need for new triggers
hyper-consumerism, with people trying to keep up with Hypermodernity
trends, and creating frustration among the poorer who
cannot keep up.[10] However, he makes a distinction be-
tween hyper-consumerism and consumerism. He does 5 References
not criticize the latter, which he says has had positives
in rising living standards. He believes that consumption [1] Gilles Lipovetsky, defensor del capitalismo (in Span-
should be a means to an end, not an end in itself and be- ish). Guadalajara: El Informador. August 31, 2009. Re-
lieves that concerns such as ecology are not incompatible trieved August 20, 2013.

[2] Raul Corral Quintero (OctoberNovember 2007).

Gilles Lipovetsky: Una sociologa del presente
pos(hiper)moderno (PDF). Casa del Tiempo (in Span-
ish). Universidad Autnoma Metropolitana. IV (4 pages
41-46). Retrieved August 20, 2013.

[3] El exceso domina la sociedad actual; se perdieron los

lmites (in Spanish). Mexico City: La Jornada. March
28, 2012. p. 9. Retrieved August 20, 2013.

[4] Jesus Alejo (March 23, 2012). Gilles Lipovetsky: vivi-

mos un tiempo en que la cultura no tiene inuencia (in
Spanish). Mexico City: Milenio. Retrieved August 20,

[5] Gilles Lipovetsky volver a Mxico (in Spanish). El

Universal. August 14, 2013. Retrieved August 20, 2013.

[6] Alberto Sauret (Spring 1991). Gilles Lipovetsky, el Im-

perio de lo efmero. Estudios, losoa-historia-letras (in
Spanish). Instituto Tecnologico Autonoma de Mexico.
Retrieved August 20, 2013.

[7] Jesus Alejo (August 10, 2007). Visitar Gilles Lipovet-

sky el Tecnolgico de Monterrey. Cronica Intercampus
(in Spanish). Mexico: Tec de Monterrey. Archived from
the original on December 28, 2010. Retrieved August 20,

[8] Reexionarn sobre la pantalla global con Gilles Lipovet-

sky (in Spanish). Tec de Monterrey. Retrieved August
20, 2013.

[9] Ellis Cashmore (January 20, 1995). Free style -- The

Empire of Fashion by Gilles Lipovetsky and translated by
Catherine Porter. 8 (336). New Statesman & Society:

[10] Entrevista / Gilles Lipovetsky / No slo de marcas vive

el hombre (in Spanish). Mexico City: Reforma. October
5, 2008. p. 5.

6 External links
Interview with Gilles Lipovetsky by Denis Failly
about his book Le bonheur paradoxal: Essai sur la
socit d'hyperconsommation, 2006. (in French)
Un extrait de Culture-monde: rponse une socit
dsoriente sur la webtl de Jacques Languirand:
Les repres de Languirand

Europes Times and Unknown Waters, Cluj-

Napoca, Braoveanu, Narcisa (April 2009). The
Narcissistic and the Cynical Attitudes - Two Identi-
tary Masks, Gilles Lipovetsky, L're du vide. Essais
sur l'individualisme contemporain and Peter Sloter-
dijk, Kritik der zynischen Vernunft

7 Text and image sources, contributors, and licenses

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