Part of the Marx, Engels, and Marxisms book series (MAENMA)


0. What import can the presentation of research carried out into fetishism have? To answer this question we must stop and look around us. We are literally surrounded by fetishes, that is to say, by objects endowed with qualities pertaining to human Relationships. Despite their familiar appearance, it is precisely by virtue of these qualities that they take on a different aura. In this process, lifeless things come to life and, at the same time, they beguile and fascinate people. Any discussion of these mechanisms necessitates a reflection on cognitive processes, focusing attention not only on the Relations between the self and others or the self and the world, but also on the Relation of the self with the self. It is also a means to keep one’s critical awareness alive when entering places that are unRelated to the real world and are outside of time: those Platonic caves where fiction loses its frame and where the boundaries between the real and virtual world collide. Shopping centers—places where the consumer is free to look at fetish commodities without necessarily having to buy them—are an example of this.


Religious Practice Critical Awareness Cult Object Christian Religion Western Observer 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 3.
    D. Hume, The Natural History of Religion, with an Introduction by John M. Robertson, Freethought Publishing Company, London, 1889.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    E. B. Tylor, Primitive Culture (1871), New York, Brentano, 1924, vol. I, p. 477 ff;Google Scholar
  3. S. Freud, Totem and Taboo, translated by A. A. Brill, New York, Moffat, 1918.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    D. Freedberg, The Power of Images, University of Chicago, Chicago, 1989.Google Scholar
  5. See also D. Freedberg and V Gallese, “Motion, Emotion and Empathy in Aesthetic Experience,” Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 11, 2007, pp. 197–203;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. V. Gallese and D. Freedberg, “Mirror and Canonical Neurons Are Crucial Elements in Aesthetic Response,” Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 11, 2007, p. 411.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    On the notions of “formal connections” and “perspicuous representation,” see L. Wittgenstein, “Remarks on Frazer’s Golden Bough,” in Philosophical Occasions (1912–1951), edited by J. Klagge and A. Nordmann, Hackett, Indianapolis, 1993.Google Scholar
  8. See also L. Wittgenstein, Philosophical Remarks, 2494edited by Rush Rhees, translated by Raymond Hargreaves and Roger White, Oxford, Blackwell, 1975. These concepts have also been examined in A. G. Gargani, Wittgenstein. Musica, parola, gesto, Cortina, Milan, 2008, p. 68 ff and in A. M. Iacono, “Attorno al concetto di rappresentazione perspicua. Spengler e Wittgenstein,” in Goethe, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche. Saggi in memoria di Sandro Barbera, ETS, Pisa, 2012.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    See J. Lacan, Le séminaire de Jacques Lacan, Livre IV: La Relation d’objet (1956–1957), edited by J. A. Miller, Seuil, Paris, 1994. For a detailed discussion of fetishism in the context of the modern world, starting from Marx, Freud, and Lacan, see S. Zizek’s The Plague of Fantasies, Verso, London-New York, 1997. See also Figure del feticismo, a cura di S. Mistura, Einaudi, Turin, 2001; U. Fadini, “Attraverso il feticismo radicale,” Millepiani, no. 21, 2002, pp. 63–77, where Baudrillard’s theorization is also discussed.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    B. Bettelheim, The Uses of Enchantment, Vintage Books, New York, 2010.Google Scholar
  11. 13.
    W. Pietz, Le fétiche. Généalogie d’un problème, Kargo & L’ÉcLat, Paris, 2005.Google Scholar
  12. 14.
    B. Latour, Petite réflexion sur le culte moderne des dieux faitiches, Synthékabo, Paris, 1996, p. 23 ff.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Alfonso Maurizio Iacono 2016

Authors and Affiliations

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations