At the dawn of the 21st century, 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 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. This book argues that the orthodox interpretation of "classical" fetishism is not and never has been up to the task of explaining all cultural fetishisms. It identifies several forms of fetishism - decadent fetishism, magical fetishism, matrix fetishism and immortality fetishism - and accounts for its sometimes radical and productive edge.
Ranging widely over texts and cultures, Amanda Fernbach applies these concepts of fetishism to topics in cultural studies, such as sexual difference, queer identities, computer culture and the "post-human" and also to her objects of study: cross-cultural dressers, techno-fetishists, cyberspace cowboys, cyborgs, geekgirls and SM/fetish cultures. This book argues that fetishism can contest postmodern malaise and provide utopian tools for a post-human existance. It urges that we embrace the new fetishism emerging from the fringes of the fetish scene and that we begin to classify fetishism in a manner that does justice to its multiplicity.
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.