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Topic: Commodity fetishism

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In the News (Tue 23 Apr 19)

  Fetishism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In de Brosses' theory of the evolution of religion, he proposed that fetishism is the earliest (most primitive) stage, followed by the stages of polytheism and monotheism, representing a progressive abstraction in thought.
Theoretically, fetishism is present in all religions, but its use in the study of religion is derived from studies of traditional West African religious beliefs, as well as Voodoo, which is derived from those beliefs.
In the 19th century Karl Marx appropriated the term to describe commodity fetishism as an important component of capitalism.
en.wikipedia.org /wiki/Fetishism   (451 words)

 Racial Fetishism
Commodity fetishism is a kind of double forgetting, first the capitalist forgets that he has projected life and value into a commodity in the ritual of exchange, and then the commodity veils itself in familiarity and triviality and becomes understood as a natural or self-evident form of social life.
Sigmund Freud, of course, is attributed with the classification of fetishism as the simultaneous disavowal and avowal of male castration.
As she points out, some fetishes "defy reduction to a single originary trauma or the psychopathology of the individual subject" (202) and recognizing this implies opening up the study of fetishism to incorporate "the vexed relations between imperialism and domesticity, desire and commodity fetishism, psychoanalysis and social history" (203).
www.sinc.sunysb.edu /Publish/hiper/num1/art/lou.htm   (5428 words)

 The Reality behind Commodity Fetishism
While the former regarded the notion of commodity fetishism as pertinent to analyze forms of alienation and reification in late modernist societies as they became more pressing than issues of mass-pauperization, the latter often look at it as an ancillary artifact that is not central to Marx’s overall analysis of political economy.
But while the religious fetish, if my picture of the world is not totally mistaken, does not through an act of being thought about or believed in acquire powers which previously were foreign to it, the situation is different in the case of the kind of fetish Marx is concerned with.
If the fetishism of commodities would be ‘only’ a necessary condition, the answer to the above question would be negative, in case of being a sufficient condition one would have to infer that there is no possibility of changing the economical basis without changing the form of commodity fetishism, which is part of the superstructure.
www.sicetnon.cogito.de /artikel/historie/fetishism.htm   (5302 words)

Marx began the chapter by analyzing exchange value as a form of appearance of a property that all commodities share, namely their property of being "congealed quantities of homogeneous human labor" (128), that is, their general or abstract property of representing or embodying their producers' participation in the social division of labor.
Commodity fetishism is often thought of as a kind of "materialistic" attitude, or the idea that a person's worth is determined by his possessions.
Marx therefore intends the critique of fetishism to be part of a critique of ideology, in particular a critique of political economy for its ideological aspects (pp.
www.uwm.edu /People/sensat/courses/438/notes02.htm   (1877 words)

 Capital Vol. I - Chapter One
Whether, then, a commodity assumes the relative form, or the opposite equivalent form, depends entirely upon its accidental position in the expression of value – that is, upon whether it is the commodity whose value is being expressed or the commodity in which value is being expressed.
It is the expression of equivalence between different sorts of commodities that alone brings into relief the specific character of value-creating labour, and this it does by actually reducing the different varieties of labour embodied in the different kinds of commodities to their common quality of human labour in the abstract.
Therefore, in the value relation of commodity A to commodity B, of the linen to the coat, not only is the latter, as value in general, made the equal in quality of the linen, but a definite quantity of coat (1 coat) is made the equivalent of a definite quantity (20 yards) of linen.
www.marxists.org /archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch01.htm   (18901 words)

 Commodity Fetishism   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-10-22)
Commodity fetishism is a term first coined by Karl Marx in his 1867 economic treatise, Das Kapital.
A fetish is any object that is believed to have special or magical powers, often associated with animistic or shamanistic religions.
The concept of commodity fetishism, then, was used by Marx to describe the over-appraisal of commodities in a capitalist economy.
www.georgetown.edu /faculty/sd224/Classes/ModernAmericanNovel/Fall2004/Reports/CommodityFetishism.htm   (1552 words)

 The Society of the Spectacle (2) (Debord)   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-10-22)
Commodity production, which implies the exchange of varied products between independent producers, tended for a long time to retain its small-scale craft aspects, relegated as it was to a marginal economic role where its quantitative reality was still hidden.
This constant expansion of economic power in the form of commodities transformed human labor itself into a commodity, into wage labor, and ultimately produced a level of abundance sufficient to solve the initial problem of survival — but only in such a way that the same problem is continually being regenerated at a higher level.
The commodity is this materialized illusion, and the spectacle is its general expression.
www.bopsecrets.org /SI/debord/2.htm   (1844 words)

The notion of commodity fetishism has been developed much more widely than in economics.
The "fetishism mechanism" is a key to understanding a number of "humanist" marxist pieces on culture and social life generally (including analyses of the media).
Fetishism stands as an argument about the loss of control over, and misunderstanding of, all aspect of social life.
www.arasite.org /mxcf.htm   (736 words)

 [No title]   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-10-22)
Elster recognizes that commodity fetishism is connected with the analysis of the value of commodities, but does not connect this with Marx's own analysis: \par }\pard \li720\ri720\sl480\slmult1\nowidctlpar\widctlpar\adjustright {Commodity fetishism is the belief t hat goods possess value just as they possess weight, as an inherent property.
This implies that commodity fetishism is not simply a fallacy, and that Marx's analysis does not hold the key to avoiding fetishism of commodities, but r a ther of recognizing it.
In his discussion of commodity fetishism, Marx suggests such an analogy himself: "the characteristic which objects of utility have of being values is as much men's social product as is their language" (Marx, 1976, p.
www.gre.ac.uk /~fa03/iwgvt/files/98sat1b-and.rtf   (3823 words)

 Term Crossing: Zizek and Fetishism
Commodity fetishism’s “essential feature,” though, can consist not merely of a faulty switch/exchange between “men” or “social relations” and “things,” but also of “a certain misrecognition which concerns the relation between a structure and one of its elements” (24).
In the capitalist world, then, the place of fetishism simply shifts “from intersubjective relations to ‘relations between things’: the crucial social relations, those of production, are no longer transparent”; the true relations of domination and servitude are “repressed” and “disguise themselves” during this transition from feudalism (pre-capitalism) to capitalism, thus producing a Marxian “symptom” (26).
This difference corresponds to the one that distinguishes the Marxian from the Freudian notion of fetishism: In the former, “a fetish conceals the positive network of social relations,” whereas in the latter “a fetish conceals the lack (‘castration’) around which the symbolic network is articulated” (49).
www.vanderbilt.edu /AnS/english/Clayton/engl337a/clemons/term-fetishism98.html   (674 words)

 Glossary of Sociological Terms - School of Sociology and Anthropology - University of Canterbury
Commodity fetishism occurs, according to Marx, when an inanimate object is treated as if it required a religious, or even sexual, devotion.
In pre-modern societies fetishes were hand-made or rare natural objects thought to embody a spirit that protected the owner from misfortune or disease.
Commodity fetishism arises under capitalism because the market system has become much more real and immediate to us than the underlying social relationships (based on inequality and exploitation) which made goods sold in the market possible in the first place.
www.soci.canterbury.ac.nz /resources/glossary/commodf.shtml   (134 words)

 Theory & Psychology
If Marx's analysis of commodities focused on the processes of their production, then his implicit psychology of commodity fetishism may only be appropriate to capitalism's earlier phase.
However, if the commodities are to be consumed as items of pleasure and as confirmations of the identity of the consumer, then the consumers must routinely not think about the labour relations involved in the production of what they are consuming.
Perhaps Marx's analysis of fetishized commodities was limited in that he overlooked the extent to which commodities, as well as the social order itself, are not merely socially produced but also consumed.
www.psych.ucalgary.ca /thpsyc/VOLUMES.SI/1999/9.3.SI.Billig.html   (6841 words)

In Marx's later work, the theory of commodity fetishism, namely the theory of a society in which relations among people take the form of relations among things, the theory of a society in which production relations are reified, becomes Marx's "general theory of production relations of the commodity-capitalist economy".
This essay will examine the relationship between the concept of alienation, the theory of commodity fetishism and the theory of value, and it will be shown that the three formulations are approaches to the same problem: the determination of the creative activity of people in the capitalist form of economy.
In the commodity economy labor is not creative activity; it is the expenditure of labor-time, of labor-power, of homogeneous human labor, or labor in general.
www-rohan.sdsu.edu /~rgibson/commodityfetishism.htm   (10922 words)

 International Socialism: Postmodernism, commodity fetishism and hegemony
Fetishism is a historical process that can be overcome and is not some essence buried in the heart of the metaphysical individual.
Marx argues in his critical theory of fetishism that, with primitive accumu¬lation and the generalised exchange of commodities, the conditions under which popular masses live take on a life of their own, as if they were persons.
Fetishism also freezes the processes of development, ideologically defining one aspect of the social as fixed when in reality it is dynamic and changing.
www.isj.org.uk /index.php4?id=59issue=105   (3905 words)

 Steven Rubio's Online Life: commodity fetishism
This tendency to regard objects as though their essence and their monetary worth were one and the same is sometimes called commodity fetishism.
Commodity fetishism is the habit of perceiving an object's price as something intrinsic to and fixed within that object, something emanating directly and vitally from that object's core, rather than as the end result of a history of people and their labor.
But the single greatest obstacle to our ability to see commodity fetishism as a construct we have imposed must be our legacy, as a country, of commodifying our own selves.
begonias.typepad.com /srubio/2005/07/commodity_fetis.html   (1361 words)

 Commodity Fetishism
Their nature as commodities does not arise from the fact that people produce them.
People's labor—-an aspect of their humanity—-thus itself becomes a commodity, to be bought and sold.
Thus commodities appear to be independent of the people that produce them—-and appear to rule over them, according to 'natural' laws.
newton.uor.edu /FacultyFolder/Spickard/SocialTheory/commodity_fetishism.htm   (730 words)

Generally occurring in males, fetishism frequently centers on a garment (e.g., underclothing or high-heeled shoes) or such parts of the body as the foot.
In psychoanalysis, a fetish is believed to represent a substitute for male genitalia, which women are imagined to have lost through castration.
Although the causes of fetishism are not clearly known, it is generally not considered a serious disorder, unless it is coupled with other psychological disturbances.
www.infoplease.com /ce6/sci/A0818579.html   (121 words)

 EGYPTIAN COMMODITY FETISHISM   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-10-22)
Fetish objects are intrinsically material hence commodity fetishism can be loosely defined as a strong attachment to a material object or commodity which is considered by the owner to hold a certain power or magical significance.
On her wrist was a broad bangle or bracelet of antique work, in the shape of a pair of spreading wings wrought in gold, with the feathers made of coloured gems (70).
Pietz writes that the fetish object "has always named the incomprehensible mystery of the power of material things to be collective social objects experienced by individuals as truly embodying determinate values or virtues, always as judged from a cross-cultural perspective of relative infinite degradation"(14).
www.solsticeweb.com /twistress/egypt3.html   (2945 words)

 Humanist: Notes from an iron cage: humanism and the commodity fetish
Commodity fetishism doesn't mean buying something and being happy with it for 30 years; it means compulsive buying, dissatisfaction with the old, planned obsolescence, "newer" valued over "better," the latest fashion as the only one worth wearing.
If commodity fetishism is a religion, it is more dangerous than most for not seeming to be one.
For humanists, comfort is not to be found in the latest commodity (or the latest god); identity is not to be found in the latest fashion; and purpose is not to be found in the constant striving for the thing.
www.findarticles.com /p/articles/mi_m1374/is_n1_v54/ai_14713834   (1300 words)

 Labor and Surplus Value
Beginning from the recognition that the commodity is a social phenomenon, Marx analyzes the relationship among commodities of different types and quantities brought into equivalence as different representations of value.
As a thing becomes a commodity only when it is made available for exchange, and it is in the exchange relation that the labor which has transformed the thing into an exchangeable commodity is rendered is distorted.
Commodity producers depend on other producers to provide them, through exchange, with their required means of production and subistsence.
www.english.ilstu.edu /strickland/495/labor.html   (1073 words)

 Slavoj Zizek
Marx borrows this concept to make sense of what he terms "commodity fetishism." As Marx explains, the commodity remains simple as long as it is tied to its use-value.
People in a capitalist society thus begin to treat commodities as if value inhered in the objects themselves, rather than in the amount of real labor expended to produce the object.
In it is commodity fetishism that predominates instead.
www.uweb.ucsb.edu /~ndryden/Slavoj_Zizek.htm   (616 words)

 Review Essay: Rethinking the idea of revolution
Holloway's discussion of commodity fetishism is both the best and the most problematic part of his book.
Indeed, Marx did not even have a separate section on commodity fetishism in the original 1867 edition of CAPITAL; it was only in the French edition of 1872-75, issued AFTER the Paris Commune, that Marx was able to both make a CATEGORY of commodity fetishism and fully show the INTERNAL way out of it.
To transcend fetishism the power of negativity must become absolute, that is, inseparable from a vision of the future, a notion of the transcendence of value production.
www.newsandletters.org /Issues/2003/Jan-Feb/Essay_Jan03.htm   (2241 words)

Used in the eighteenth century by Charles de Brosses (dubbed "the little fetish" for his pains by Voltaire) to describe the idolatrous worship of material objects in "primitive" societies, the term was traced to fatum, signifying both fate and charm.
Though a semantic disjunction clearly emerges each time the word fetishism is displaced from language to language, discipline to discipline, and culture to culture, it is precisely this process of creative mistranslation that endows the term with its value as currency of literary exchange, as verbal token.
Tournier's agents of commodification—ogres, tourists, admen, and filmmakers—certainly discredit fetishism as a culturally constructed perversion and seem to follow the received interpreta tion of fetishism as a negative effect of commodification.
www.ncf.edu /hassold/FinDeSiecle/apter_fetishism_in_theory.htm   (3680 words)

 Ralph Dumain: "The Autodidact Project": Gajo Petrovic: Reification   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-10-22)
The commodity form, and the value relation between the products of labour which stamps them as commodities, have absolutely no connexion with their physical properties and with the material relations arising therefrom.
He points out that two sides of the phenomenon of reification or commodity fetishism have been distinguished (which he calls the 'objective' and the subjective'): 'Objectively a world of objects and relations between things springs into being (the world of commodities and their movements on the market).
The book was less ambitious than Lukács's (concentrating on reification in economics) and also less radical; while Lukács found some place for ‘alienation' in his theory of reification, Rubin was inclined to regard the theory of reification as the scientific reconstruction of the utopian theory of alienation.
www.autodidactproject.org /other/reification1.html   (1400 words)

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