Making magic: Fetishes in contemporary consumption

Karen V. Fernandez, John L. Lastovicka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

74 Scopus citations

Abstract

Fetishes-magical objects of extraordinary empowerment and influence-are often sought by consumers for their value as usable objects. Our interpretive research extends the current static perspective of fetishes by proposing a dynamic cyclical model of fetishization appropriate to an age of mass production. Consumers use contagious and imitative magic to imbue replica instruments with power. Semiotically signified magical thinking causes replicas to radiate aura and thus transforms them into fetishes. We suggest that although all replicas with aura become fetishes, the cyclical fetishization process is only perpetuated when empowerment is public, sustained, and authentic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)278-299
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Volume38
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing

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