The Theoretical and Historical Assumptions Underpinning the Concept of Fetishism

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


The word “fetish” derives from the Portuguese “feitiço” and, since it refers to cult objects of the so-called savage peoples, it may already be found in sixteenth-century accounts of the Portuguese voyages to West Africa.1 This word, in turn, comes from the Latin “facticius,” meaning artificial. As a noun, the word has also assumed the meaning of “witchcraft” and sorcery.2 Hence, it is a word with which Europeans originally indicated the indigenous cults of Guinea.


Human Nature Comparative Method Eighteenth Century Religious Practice Formal Connection 
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© Alfonso Maurizio Iacono 2016

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