Commodity Fetishism B-Side

An excerpt from Kim’s conversation with Elaine Freedgood on commodity fetishism that didn’t make it into the original episode.

Elaine references Louis Althusser and Slavoj Žižek on ideology;
Fredric Jameson, The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act. Cornell UP: 1981;
and Claude Levi Strauss’s work on Caduveo body painting (which seems to have been published in the surrealist magazine VVV in 1942 and is very hard to find on the internet — see Luciana Martins ‘Resemblances to archaeological finds’: Guido Boggiani, Claude Lévi-Strauss and Caduveo body painting” Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, 2014. DOI:10.1080/13569325.2017.1309317.)

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Commodity Fetishism

Kim talks with Elaine Freedgood about Karl Marx’s concept of commodity fetishism.

The concept comes from:
Karl Marx, Capital Vol. 1, translated by Samuel Moore and Edward Aveling, edited by Frederick Engels, 1887, available on

Other texts mentioned:
Peter Stallybrass, “Marx’s Coat” in Border Fetishisms: Material Objects in Unstable Spaces, edited by Patricia Spyer, Routledge, 1998.
Rosalind Morris and Daniel Leonard, The Returns of Fetishism: Charles de Brosses and the Afterlives of an Idea. University of Chicago Press, 2017.
In the longer version of our conversation we talked about:
Tamara Ketabgian, The Lives of Machines: The Industrial Imaginary in Victorian Literature and Culture. University of Michigan Press, 2011.
Frederick Engels, The Condition of the Working-Class in England in 1844. Translated by Florence Kelley Wischnewetzky. London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd., 1852. Internet Archive.
And Elaine’s book, The Ideas in Things: Fugitive Meaning in the Victorian Novel. University of Chicago Press, 2006.

Elaine is super cool. She studies Victorian Literature and teaches in the English Department at NYU.

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