Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Devil and Commodity Fetishism in South America” as Want to Read:
The Devil and Commodity Fetishism in South America
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Devil and Commodity Fetishism in South America

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  205 ratings  ·  9 reviews
In this classic book, Michael Taussig explores the social significance of the devil in the folklore of contemporary plantation workers and miners in South America. Grounding his analysis in Marxist theory, Taussig finds that the fetishization of evil, in the image of the devil, mediates the conflict between precapitalist and capitalist modes of objectifying the human condi ...more
Paperback, 296 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by University of North Carolina Press (first published 1980)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

Be the first to ask a question about The Devil and Commodity Fetishism in South America

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 471)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Despite the title, this is not an exploration of satanic rituals – but it is very much an ethnography of religion, colonialism and the changes brought about in life experience as a result of the imposition of the new ways of being that colonialism brings about. Good cross cultural scholarship and ethnography can expose and reveal an enormous amount about the ‘home’ culture of the researcher while at the same time unravelling and allowing us to make sense of another way of being and living.

In th
Viii Legion
Triumphs as an ethnography, fails at political commentary. The author expertly chronicles the synthetic blend of Roman-Catholic, Afro-Caribbean, and Latin superstitions and religious faiths South American agricultural workers harbor which is very interesting. However, the author occasionally inserts his naive belief that Marxism can somehow save these people from exploitation which detracts from the ethnography. Not to get too political, but if Capitalism and Marxism both become susceptible to t ...more
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.
Really brings it home how something isn't intrinsically itself, but has qualities only so far as its different from the things around it. Makes a great case for a relational rather than an atomistic view of reality.
Matt Webb
Mar 11, 2008 Matt Webb marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended by Anne G after a discussion about understanding exchange and use values better.
A little too much economics for my taste.
Very good and highly informative.
Too communist-heavy for my liking.
owleyes marked it as to-read
Dec 18, 2014
Heretic13 is currently reading it
Dec 15, 2014
Daniel marked it as to-read
Dec 14, 2014
Meister Morgan
Meister Morgan marked it as to-read
Dec 02, 2014
Jonathan Cook
Jonathan Cook marked it as to-read
Dec 01, 2014
Megan marked it as to-read
Nov 19, 2014
Kevin marked it as to-read
Nov 11, 2014
Tsf marked it as to-read
Nov 09, 2014
Leonardo marked it as to-read
Nov 06, 2014
Priscila marked it as to-read
Oct 29, 2014
Cari marked it as to-read
Oct 26, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 15 16 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic Among the Azande
  • Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection
  • Culture & Truth: The Remaking of Social Analysis
  • The Forest of Symbols: Aspects Of Ndembu Ritual
  • Europe and the People Without History
  • Toward An Anthropological Theory of Value: The False Coin of Our Own Dreams
  • Outline of a Theory of Practice
  • Veiled Sentiments: Honor and Poetry in a Bedouin Society (updated with a new preface)
  • The Woman in the Body: A Cultural Analysis of Reproduction
  • The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies
  • The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective
  • Vita: Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment
  • The Predicament of Culture: Twentieth-Century Ethnography, Literature, and Art
  • Tristes Tropiques
  • Death Without Weeping: The Violence of Everyday Life in Brazil
  • Stone Age Economics
  • Patterns of Culture
  • Works and Lives: The Anthropologist as Author
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 ...more
More about Michael T. Taussig...
Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man: A Study in Terror and Healing Mimesis and Alterity: A Particular History of the Senses: A Particular Study of the Senses My Cocaine Museum Law in a Lawless Land: Diary of a Limpieza in Colombia What Color Is the Sacred?

Share This Book