FetishismA fetish is a thing or an object, which, according to the beliefs or psychological attitude of a person, has a supernatural influence, power or abilities, or from the other point of view, a thing which has supremacy over people. Fetishism is the condition of belonging to such mental or conscious dependency. In other words, a fetish is an entity, which attracts unusual, anomalous attention of a person, and drastically dominates in the perception of the situation. Thus, fetishism is a tendency to focus on special things and entities and to surrender such one-sided perception of the environment, which decreases the influence of other entities in surrounding system of objects.

Examples of fetishism include any demonstration of pseudo objectivity and tendency to maximize the role and importance of an object (fetish) in observation and sensing of a situation. Fetishism can be taken in many various perspectives: religious, psychological, sexual, economical, sociological, ethnographic, even anthropological and philosophical. Words “fetish” and “fetishism” have Latin origin, and the very concept of fetishism came out to our times from 18th century, initially created and formed by French explorer Charles de Brosses, who introduced this term to describe the early development of religious evolution. Within the time, fetishism, its nature and particular understanding, became an issue of interest and researches of specialists of different fields of science.

The category of anthropological fetishism was introduce by E. B. Tylor and J. F. McLennan, the historians and anthropologists of the 19th century, who have been working over development of the theories of totemism and animism and recognized fetishism as a subdivision of these theories. Anthropological concept of fetishism suggests switching the religious connection between God and people onto the connection between people and religious material symbols. The theory of animism and anthropological fetishism, as a part of it, became a good instrument for social scientists and historians to explain fundamentally the nature and psychological background of religious beliefs.