Commodity fetishism is theoretically central to the Frankfurt School philosophy, especially in the work of the sociologist Theodor W. The second was Alfred Binet 's term sexual fetishismthe sexual attachment to an object in place of a person. According to Hegel, Africans were incapable of abstract thought, their ideas and actions were governed by impulse, and therefore a fetish object could be anything that then was arbitrarily imbued with imaginary powers. F Hegel in Lectures on the Philosophy of History. The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon. In a capitalist economy, a character mask Charaktermaske is the functional role with which a man or a woman relates and is related to in a society composed of stratified social classesespecially in relationships and market-exchange transactions; thus, in the course of buying and selling, the commodities goods and services usually appear other than they are, because they are masked obscured by the role-playing of the buyer and the seller. However, ethnography and anthropology would classify some artifacts of monotheistic religions as fetishes.
The Society of the Spectacle is the ultimate form of social alienation that occurs when a person views his or her being self as a commodity that can be bought and sold, because he or she regards every human relation as a potential business transaction. But there is a difference between the two phenomena. Made and used by the BaKongo people of western Zairea nkisi plural minkisi is a sculptural object that provides a local habitation for a spiritual personality. Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis critically reviewed the belief systems of the theory of human capital. Pietz distinguishes between, on the one hand, actual African objects that may be called fetishes in Europe, together with the indigenous theories of them, and on the other hand, "fetish", an idea, and an idea of a kind of object, to which the term above applies. The fetish, then, not only originated from, but remains specific to, the problem of the social value of material objects as revealed in situations formed by the encounter of radically heterogeneous social systems, and a study of the history of the idea of the fetish may be guided by identifying those themes that persist throughout the various discourses and disciplines that have appropriated the term.