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Fantasies of Fetishism

From Decadence to the Post-Human

Amanda Fernbach


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.

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Part One: Cultural Fetishisms
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

About the Author

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.


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 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
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 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.