The Devil and Commodity Fetishism in South America
In this classic book, Taussig explores the social significance of the devil in the folklore of contemporary plantation workers and miners in South America. A new chapter for this anniversary edition features a discussion of Walter Benjamin and Georges Bat
Paperback, 296 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by University of North Carolina Press
(first published 1980)
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This book is soooooooooo cool! it takes two examples of indigenous communities in latin america and looks at how they have begun to use discourses of the devil and the demonic at the same time as capitalism was forced on their lives. It essentially argues that capitalism can be best understood/revealed/denaturalized by using the imagery of the devil, soul stealers, etc.
As far as ethnographies go, this one is pretty good. Easily readable for anyone not familiar with the theory that's being applied in the study. However, there is a bit of a slog through the history at the start of the book, I would almost go so far as to say to skip the first 50-70 pages.
Michael Taussig (born 1940) earned a medical degree from the University of Sydney, received his PhD. in anthropology from the London School of Economics and is a professor at Columbia University and European Graduate School. Although he has published on medical anthropology, he is best known for his engagement with Marx's idea of commodity fetishism, especially in terms of the work of Walter Benja...moreMore about Michael T. Taussig...