The Brill Dictionary of Religion

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(1,031 words)

Problems of the Concept

1. a) Belief in an object with supernatural powers of spell or enchantment, or in an object whose mysterious workings are venerated in cult—with blood sacrifice, for example—is often designated ‘fetishism.’ This notion must be applied with great caution, however—contrary to the general notion that they designate phenomena, they are in fact foreign explanatory constructs applied to misunderstood cultural systems.

b) The use of the term ‘fetish,’ as a category for…

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Guzy, Lidia, “Fetish/Fetishism”, in: The Brill Dictionary of Religion, Edited by Kocku von Stuckrad. Consulted online on 21 January 2021 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004124332, 20051223

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