9781594511165

Incest: Origins of the Taboo

by
  • ISBN13:

    9781594511165

  • ISBN10:

    1594511160

  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2005-07-15
  • Publisher: Routledge

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Supplemental Materials

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Summary

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 of 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.

Table of Contents

Foreword ix
Acknowledgments xiii
1 The Golden Age of Promiscuity 1(26)
2 Avoiding Incest 27(26)
More Recent Explanations for the Origins of the Incest Taboo
3 Forbidden Acts 53(30)
Incest and Its Psychological Consequences
4 A Distant Mirror 83(40)
Ape Social Structure and Sexual Avoidance among the Primates
5 The Horde 123(40)
Social Organization before the Nuclear Family
6 Family and Taboo 163(22)
7 Unraveling the Mystery of the Incest Taboo 185(16)
Bibliography 201(46)
Index 247(8)
About the Authors 255

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