Commodity Fetishism

(6028 words)
  • Stewart Crehan (Manchester Metropolitan University)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume 12: Global Voices, Global Histories: World Literatures and Cultures.

The Marxist critique

The concept of commodity fetishism, which is central to Marxism, has an ancient pedigree. Whilst the term “fetish” appears in the fifteenth century (see separate entry on Fetishism) and the linking of “fetish” to “commodity” begins with Marx, we find something of the psychology he describes already present in Biblical accounts of idolatry. In Exodus 20:3 Yahweh issues commandments to the Hebrews against making graven images and bowing down to them, and Isaiah observes of his Babylonian captors that they “lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh …

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Crehan, Stewart. "Commodity Fetishism". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 13 March 2006
[, accessed 29 November 2015.]