The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-events in America  

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“The celebration is held, photographs are taken, the occasion is widely reported”. p. 10, The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-events in America (1961) by Daniel J. Boorstin

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-events in America (1961) is a book by Daniel J. Boorstin, a work of social theory. It is an early description of aspects of American culture that were later termed hyperreality and postmodernity. In The Image, Boorstin describes shifts in American culture – mainly due to advertising – where the reproduction or simulation of an event becomes more important or "real" than the event itself. He goes on to coin the term pseudo-event, which describes events or activities that serve little to no purpose other than to be reproduced through advertisements or other forms of publicity. The idea of pseudo-events anticipates later work by Jean Baudrillard and Guy Debord. The work is an often used text in American sociology courses, and Boorstin's concerns about the social effects of technology remain influential.

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