Another in my continuing series of jottings on why reification and fetishism should not be conflated. This one is triggered by the productive brain storming session I had on the train and by conversations I had last night with some promising MA students.
I would argue that in terms of a theory of domination, how I interpret fetishism has a more coherent explanation, than how reification represents fetishism. Rather than reducing people to things it seems to me that fetishism accounts for a movement wherein the personification of things causes the personification of individuals. (This is sort of dealt with by Lefebvre and outlined in my chapter on Lefebvre in which he argues people are not reduced to things by capital but to animated abstractions.) But I think I can bring out by saying that rather than an account of dehumanization–people being turned into things– which can back up humanist accounts and feed into the normativity problem, a theory of fetishism qua personification moves to account for how and why and what compels individuals behaviour, not as things but as the personification of economic categories they are forced into behaving as in order to survive.