Under the shadow of semiotic structuralism, current theorizing activities on popular culture have bf!en preoccupied with meaning, signification, representation, and ideology. For instance, the Screen group focuses their analyses on the functionality of ideology within the text, and the ways in which the spectator (the subject) is positioned through signifying practices imposed by the text. 1 This interpretive strategy assumes the correspondence between the textual production of dominant ideology and its effectivity on the spectator; it gives full authority to the text in determining the production of meaning. Attacking Screen's position, the Birmingham Center for Cultural Studies shifts the focal analysis toward the question of encoding and decoding (Hall, 1980a), and argues that there is no necessary correspondence between the preferred reading and actual reading

present system, we have to retrace an entire genealogy of the law of value and of successive simulacra-the structural revolution of value" (1983c, p. 56). This project postulates that the dominant mode of "social" control (of power) is no longer that of production, but that of the operational structures of codes; programmed commodity consumption (that is, the situationist's notion of the spectacle) is only a part of this coding system. More specifically, the functioning social logic has passed from commodity to sign, and the exploitation of sociallabor has been replaced largely by the manipulative production of meaning and information. Hence the theoretical basis of the system of power has been transferred from political economy to structuralist semiology, information theory and cybernetics. 4 To understand fully (before we can effectively overturn) the terrorism of the current coding systems, we have to analyze the entire historical process of its mutation iJ} terms of, on the one hand, the fundamental value (ideological) structures (the law of value) which operate, in part, on the basis of the underlying episteme of different ages, and its corresponding functioning machine (the successive simulacra) on the other. 5

On his genealogical map, Baudrillard draws "three order of simulacra." From the Renaissance to the beginning of the industrial revolution, counterfeit is the dominant mode of effectivity of the real (representation); and this first order of simulacrum is haunted by the "natural law of value." During the industrial era, production becomes the dominant scheme, and this second order of simulating machine is based on the commodity law of value. In our current system (after World War 11), based on the "structural law of value," simulation has replaced production as the dominant scheme of the logic of representation as well as the functionality of machine. The map Baudrillard offers here is not intended as a universal history, but as a general picture of the changing referent (alibi) of social value and the functioning logic of society. To use contemporary terms, we shall periodize the first order as early modernity, the second order as modernity, and the third as postmodernity.