“Ideological Fantasies” is an argument for the continued importance of thinking Marxism and psychoanalysis together in the conjunction of “queer” and “capital.” Both, within a certain Western tradition, are preoccupied with understanding how ideology fashions subjectivities. By revisiting a textual scene in the genealogy of capitalism where commodity fetishism makes its appearance as a rhetorical construction—Leon Battista Alberti's treatise on the family—I show how ideology works phantasmically to “eternalize” or “universalize” historical contingency, even as the historicization of this fantasy (its relegation to the “origins” of kinship and exchange) produces the effect of concealing the repeated return of the same in late capitalism. Commodity fetishism is the name of one of the most explicit figural convergences of psychoanalysis and Marxism, and its critical genealogy continues to be haunted by spectral appearances of gender, sexuality, and racialization, particularly where the to-be-commodified object is concerned. What I focus on is how a particular—and multiply displaced—subjectivity inhabits the scene of commodity fetishism and how commodity fetishism structures and marks not only the objects but also the subjects of exchange, creating “real abstractions” that have not ceased to perform their ideological work.

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