Daniel J. Boorstin  

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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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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Daniel Joseph Boorstin (October 1, 1914 – February 28, 2004) was an American historian, professor, attorney, and writer. He was appointed twelfth Librarian of the United States Congress from 1975 until 1987.

Within the discipline of social theory, Boorstin's 1961 book The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-events in America is an early description of aspects of American life 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.


  • The Mysterious Science of the Law (1941)
  • The Lost World of Thomas Jefferson (1948)
  • The Genius of American Politics (1953)
  • The Americans: The Colonial Experience (1958)
  • America and the Image of Europe:Reflections on American Thought (1960)
  • A Lady's Life In The Rocky Mountains: Introduction (1960)
  • The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-events in America (1962)
  • The Americans: The National Experience (1965)
  • The Landmark History of the American People: From Plymouth to Appomattox (1968)
  • The Decline of Radicalism: Reflections of America Today (1969)
  • The Landmark History of the American People: From Appomattox to the Moon (1970)
  • The Sociology of the Absurd: Or, the Application of Professor X (1970)
  • The Americans: The Democratic Experience (1973)
  • Democracy and Its Discontents: Reflections on Everyday America (1974)
  • The Exploring Spirit: America and the World, Then and Now (1976)
  • The Republic of Technology (1978)
  • The History of the United States with Brooks M. Kelley and Ruth Frankel (1981)
  • The Discoverers (1983)
  • Hidden History (1987)
  • The Creators (1992)
  • Cleopatra's Nose: Essays on the Unexpected (1994)
  • The Seekers (1998)

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Daniel J. Boorstin" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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