Divine Hunger: Cannibalism as a Cultural System

Divine Hunger: Cannibalism as a Cultural System

by Peggy Reeves Sanday, Peggy R. Sanday
     
 

ISBN-10: 0521311144

ISBN-13: 9780521311144

Pub. Date: 07/28/1986

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

The practice of cannibalism is in certain cultures rejected as evil, while in others it plays a central part in the ritual order. Anthropologists have offered various explanations for the existence of cannibalism, none of which, Peggy Sanday claims, is adequate. In this book she presents a new approach to understanding the phenomenon. Through a detailed examination of…  See more details below

Overview

The practice of cannibalism is in certain cultures rejected as evil, while in others it plays a central part in the ritual order. Anthropologists have offered various explanations for the existence of cannibalism, none of which, Peggy Sanday claims, is adequate. In this book she presents a new approach to understanding the phenomenon. Through a detailed examination of ritual cannibalism in selected tribal societies, and a comparison of those cases with others in which the practice is absent, she shows that cannibalism is closely linked to people's orientation to the world, and that it serves as a concrete device for distinguishing the 'cultural self' from the 'natural other'. Combining perspectives drawn from the work of Ricoeur, Freud, Hegel, and Jung and from symbolic anthropology, Sanday argues that ritual cannibalism is intimately connected both with the constructs by which the origin and continuity of life are understood and assured from one generation to the next and with the way in which that understanding is used to control the vital forces considered necessary for the cannibalism in a culture derives from basic human attitudes toward life and death, combined with the realities of the material world. As well as making an original contribution to the understanding of the significant human practice, Sanday also develops a theoretical argument of wider relevance to anthropologists, sociologists, and other readers interested in the function and meaning of cannibalism.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521311144
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
07/28/1986
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
284
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.63(d)

Table of Contents

Preface; Acknowledgments; Part I. Introduction: 1. Cannibalism cross-culturally; 2. Analytic framework; Part II. The Symbols That Give Rise to a Cannibalistic Consciousness: 3. The mysteries of the body: Hua and Gimi mortuary cannibalism; 4. The androgynous first being: Bimin-Kuskusmin cannibalism; 5. Cannibal monsters and animal friends; Part III. The Mythical Chartering And Transformations of Cannibal Practice: 6. The faces of the soul's desires: Iroquoian torture and cannibalism in the seventeenth century; 7. Raw women and cooked men: Fijian cannibalism in the nineteenth century; 8. Precious eagle-cactus fruit: Aztec human sacrifice; 9. The transformation and end of cannibal practice; 10. Conclusion: other symbols and ritual modalities; Notes; References; Index.

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