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The Theoretical and Historical Assumptions Underpinning the Concept of Fetishism

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

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Human Nature Comparative Method Eighteenth Century Religious Practice Formal Connection 
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Notes

  1. 1.
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© Alfonso Maurizio Iacono 2016

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