An Afro-Brazilian Theory of the Creative Process

An Essay in Anthropological Symmetrization

in Social Analysis
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  • 1 National Museum of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro marcio.goldman@gmail.com
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Starting with the axiom that, for anthropology, the only relevant epistemologies and ontologies are those offered by the peoples we work with, this article offers a sketch of the current debate around the once famous ideas of 'fetish' and 'fetishism'. Focusing on the way that this debate has been extended in studies of Afro-Brazilian religions, the argument employs fieldwork and bibliographic data from one of these religions, candomblé, in order to present a native theory of the creative process underlying what has been baptized with the strange names 'fetish' and 'fetishism'. In short, this native theory holds that the creative process consists more in the actualization of already existing virtualities contained in beings and objects in the world than in the model of ex nihilo production, which is characteristic of our dominant Judeo-Christian and capitalist cosmologies.

Social Analysis

The International Journal of Anthropology

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