The term has been given a new importance by Baudrillard's account of postmodernity.
He traces a series of stages in its emergence.
Whereas the image was once a reflection of a basic reality, as in the feudal order in which signs were clear indications of hierarchical status, it came to mask or pervert a basic reality when, in the baroque period that privileged artifice and counterfeit over natural signs, arbitrary or artificial signs began to proliferate.
The ultimate simulacra is Disneyland.
According to Baudrillard, Disneyland is presented as imaginary - or simulates its own imaginary nature - in order to make us believe that the rest of America is real rather than something belonging to the order of simulation and hyperreality.