Fantasies of Fetishism

Fantasies of Fetishism : From Decadence to the Post-human

3.6 (15 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Hardback
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Description

At the dawn of the new millennium, Western culture is marked by various fantasies that imagine our future selves and their forms of embodiment. These fantasies form part of a rapidly growing cultural discourse about the future of the human form, the disappearing boundary between the human and the technological and the cultural consequences of greater human-technological integration. This book is about those cultural fantasies of fetishism, the different forms they take and the various ways in which the transformative processes they depict can reaffirm accepted definitions of identity or reconfigure them in an entirely new fashion. But what exactly is fetishism? At one level fetish club subcultures spectacularize fetishism as a celebration of difference in which the transformation of the self is paramount and 'mainstream' categories, including beliefs about gender, sexuality and the body, are transgressed. However, in film, feminist and post-colonial criticism, fetishism's meaning owes much to Freud's interpretation that the fetish stands in for the mother's missing phallus and disavows her sexual difference. At the level of critical theory, fetishism is almost always regarded as being synonymous with 'the reproduction of the same' - the disavowal rather than the pursuit of otherness. This book argues that the orthodox interpretation of 'classical' fetishism is not and never has been up to the task of explaining all cultural fetishisms. It identifies several different forms of fetishism - decadent fetishism, magical fetishism, matrix fetishism and immortality fetishism - and accounts for its sometimes radical and productive edge. Ranging widely over texts and cultures, Amanda Fernbach skilfully deploys these concepts of fetishism to topics in cultural studies, such as sexual difference, queer identities, computer culture and the 'post-human' and as well as to her objects of study: cross-cultural dressers, technofetishists, cyberspace cowboys, cyborgs, geekgirls and SM/fetish cultures. This book argues that fetishism can contest postmodern malaise and provide utopian tools for a post-human existence. It urges that we embrace the new fetishism emerging from the fringes of the fetish scene and that we begin to classify fetishism in a manner that does justice to its multiplicity.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 189 x 246 x 25mm | 1,043g
  • EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • 40 b&w illustrations
  • 0748616160
  • 9780748616169

Review quote

A compelling, demanding and often entertaining discussion of the extensive cultural implications of 'fetishism'! littered with fascinating photographic imagery ! an important contribution to contemporary cultural theory and, more specifically, to the ever growing field of post-human thought ... this work provides fascinating insights into an oft-ignored aspect of human behaviour and culture. The combination of succinct close reading of accessible texts with information gained in interviews and via observation at venues not usually frequented by academics, such as fetish clubs and dungeons is one of the strengths of Fernbach's analysis. Fantasies of Fetishism is an interesting and challenging work that is even more admirable for its explication of sophisticated and original arguments. There is no doubt that this book is a major achievement in opening up new directions for psychoanalytic cultural criticism and studies of contemporary technoculture. -- Zoe Sofoulis, School of Humanities, University of Western Sydney The author has brought together a great deal of thinking that challenges or expands traditional Freudian theory of fetishism and, in effect, thereby creates a new master theory to use in her history. I respect and approve of such bold work. -- Professor John Maynard, School of English, New York University This book provides a genuinely original contribution to cultural criticism. The way Fernbach educates as she entertains is a rare and welcome achievement. -- Dr Rosalyn Diprose, School of Philosophy, University of New South Wales A compelling, demanding and often entertaining discussion of the extensive cultural implications of 'fetishism'! littered with fascinating photographic imagery ! an important contribution to contemporary cultural theory and, more specifically, to the ever growing field of post-human thought ... this work provides fascinating insights into an oft-ignored aspect of human behaviour and culture. The combination of succinct close reading of accessible texts with information gained in interviews and via observation at venues not usually frequented by academics, such as fetish clubs and dungeons is one of the strengths of Fernbach's analysis. Fantasies of Fetishism is an interesting and challenging work that is even more admirable for its explication of sophisticated and original arguments. There is no doubt that this book is a major achievement in opening up new directions for psychoanalytic cultural criticism and studies of contemporary technoculture. The author has brought together a great deal of thinking that challenges or expands traditional Freudian theory of fetishism and, in effect, thereby creates a new master theory to use in her history. I respect and approve of such bold work. This book provides a genuinely original contribution to cultural criticism. The way Fernbach educates as she entertains is a rare and welcome achievement.show more

Table of contents

Part One: Cultural Fetishisms; Introduction; 1. Millennial Decadence and Decadent Fetishism; 2. Magical Fetishism: Worshipping at the Technological Altar; Part Two: Fetishised Subjectivities; 3. Forms of Technofetishism and Future Selves: Negotiating the Post-Human Terrain; 4. Fetishism at the Professional Dungeon: the Dominatrix and her Male Slave; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.show more

About Amanda Fernbach

Amanda Fernbach recently received her doctorate in English at the University of New South Wales, Australia and now lives in New York. She has published widely on the subject of fetishism.show more

Rating details

15 ratings
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3 20% (3)
2 7% (1)
1 13% (2)
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