Incest: Origins of the Taboo

Incest: Origins of the Taboo

by Jonathan H. Turner, Alexandra Maryanski
     
 

Throughout history humans have been fascinated with incest. Stories, fables, literature, philosophers, church officials, and scientists have explored this mysterious topic. The taboo is critical to human survival, as incest threatens the species and patterns of human social organization.

Drawing upon the rich legacy of theory, empirical data, and speculation about

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Overview

Throughout history humans have been fascinated with incest. Stories, fables, literature, philosophers, church officials, and scientists have explored this mysterious topic. The taboo is critical to human survival, as incest threatens the species and patterns of human social organization.

Drawing upon the rich legacy of theory, empirical data, and speculation about the origins of the incest taboo, this book develops a new explanation for not only the emergence of the taboo in hominid and human evolutionary history but also for the varying strength of the taboo for the incestuous dyads of the nuclear family, the different rates of incest of these dyads, and the dramatic differences the psychological pathology of incest on its younger victims. Synthesizing findings from biology, sociobiology, neurology, primatology, clinical psychology, anthropology, and sociology, the authors weave together a scenario of how natural selection initially generated mechanisms of sexual avoidance; and then, as the nuclear family emerged in hominid and human evolution, how sociocultural selection led to the development of the incest taboo.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781594511172
Publisher:
Paradigm Publishers
Publication date:
07/28/2005
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
270
Product dimensions:
6.08(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.72(d)

Table of Contents

1The golden age of promiscuity1
2Avoiding incest : more recent explanations for the origins of the incest taboo27
3Forbidden acts : incest and its psychological consequences53
4A distant mirror : ape social structure and sexual avoidance among the primates83
5The horde : social organization before the nuclear family123
6Family and taboo163
7Unraveling the mystery of the incest taboo185

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