Fetishism and narcissism – the base of capitalism?

  • Anselm Jappe Accademia di Belle Arti di Sassari
Keywords: narcissism, capitalism, fetishism, commodity fetishism, consumerism

Abstract

This article tries to resume Karl Marx’ concept of “commodity fetishism”, not just as a phenomenon of conscience, but as being the real heart of capitalist society based on abstract labor and value, money and commodity. This concept is often misunderstood, as well as the concept of “narcissism”. Following Freud and Christopher Lasch, the article underlines the sociological side of narcissism and how this pathology is the psychological counterpart to commodity fetishism, forming thus the typical subjectivity of consumerism.

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Author Biography

Anselm Jappe, Accademia di Belle Arti di Sassari
is the author of Guy Debord (1993, University of California Press; 1999, PM Press, 2016; in Spanish, Anagrama, 1998), Les Aventures de la marchandise. Pour une nouvelle critique de la valeur (Denoel 2003; in Spanish, Pepitas de Calabaza, 2016), L’Avant-garde inacceptable. Réflexions sur Guy Debord (Lignes, 2004), Crédit à mort (Lignes 2011, translated as The Writing on the Wall, Zero Books, 2016; in Spanish, Pepitas de Calabaza, 2011), La Société autophage. Capitalisme, démesure et autodestruction (La Découverte, 2017; in Spanish, Pepitas de Calabaza, 2019). He contributed to the German magazines Krisis and Exit !, founded by Robert Kurz, which developed the “critique of value”. He teaches at present at the Fine Art Schools of Sassari (Italy) and has been visiting professor in various European and Latin American universities. He also lectured at the Collège international de philosophie (Paris)    

References

Freud, S. (1957). On narcissism: An introduction. In J. Strachey (Ed. & Trans.), The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud (Vol. 14, pp. 73-102). London: Hogarth Press.

Jappe, A. (2017a). Les Aventures de la marchandise. Pour une critique de la valeur. Paris: La Découverte.

Jappe, A. (2017b). La Société autophage. Capitalisme, démesure et autodestruction. Paris: La Découverte.

Lasch, C. (1979). The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations. New York: Norton.

Lasch, C. (1984). The Minimal Self: Psychic Survival in Troubled Times. New York: Norton.

Lukács, G. (1983). History and Class Consciousness.London: Merlin Press.

Marx, K. (1976). Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, vol. 1. (B. Fowkes, Trad.). London: Penguin.

Marx, K. (1991). Capital, vol. 3. (D. Fernbach, Trad.). London: Penguin.

Published
2020-03-31
How to Cite
Jappe, A. (2020). Fetishism and narcissism – the base of capitalism?. Estudios De Filosofía, (62). https://doi.org/10.17533/udea.ef.n62a09
Section
Reflection article