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date: 23 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Objectification and commodification are challenging and disturbing processes. The chapter explores how these processes are transforming ‘religious’ ideas, persons, and practices into ‘things’ across a wide variety of Asian and Western traditions and contexts. Objectification and commodification reflect distinct cognitive and social processes that arise from desire, control, and power. The chapter argues that commoditization and commodification should be seen as two different processes, the former dealing with the legitimate process of objects becoming economic entities and the latter referring to the process of making non-objects, such as persons, into objects. Objects and commodities can be part of the material culture of religion, but there is a complex ethical concern when these processes extend to profit motivations or are applied to non-objects. Objectification and commodification are embedded deep within the psychological, social and political worlds.

Keywords: commodification, commoditization, exchange-value, fetish commodity, Immanuel Kant, Karl Marx, objectification, reification, religion, use-value

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