The Role and Place of ‘Commodity Fetishism’ in Marx’s Systematic-dialectical Exposition in Capital

in Historical Materialism
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Abstract

This article aims to contribute to the literature on Marx’s systematic-dialectical method through a critical reading and discussion of the significance and presentational ‘architecture’ of the section on commodity fetishism in the dialectical sequence of form-determinations in Capital. In order to undertake this task, the paper firstly explores the content and expositional structure of the first three sections of Chapter 1 of Capital. This sets the stage for a methodologically-minded close examination of Marx’s presentation of the fetish character of the commodity, which shows that there is a precise systematic sequence which gives unity to the flow of his argument within the section on ‘The Fetishism of the Commodity and its Secret’. The conclusion is that only through a proper grasp of the dialectical method can the full systematic significance and implications of Marx’s account of commodity fetishism be uncovered.

The Role and Place of ‘Commodity Fetishism’ in Marx’s Systematic-dialectical Exposition in Capital

in Historical Materialism

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