Publisher description for The original sin : incest and its meaning / W. Arens.


Bibliographic record and links to related information available from the Library of Congress catalog


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The subject of incest has been recognized by many masters of the natural and social sciences, including Darwin, Freud, Frazer, Durkheim, and Marx. For Freud, incest was a historical or contemporary fantasy rather than a reality; for the others, the origin of the incest taboo, rather than
incest itself, was the focus of considerable attention. Arguing against the conventional view--that the incest taboo developed in response to the act of incest--The Original Sin presents biological and anthropological evidence to demonstrate the innate avoidance of incest as a feature of precultural
organization. Professor Arens shows how the taboo evolved as a unique human social mechanism to control the practice among certain social classes, thus drawing the conclusion that incest, rather than its prohibition, is the cultural invention. Arens directly confronts the origin and definition of
incest while seeking to uncover the particular and general meaning of this negative form of behavior. He extracts what has long lain hidden in the human consciousness and questions those tenets of human behavior responsible for propagating the race tha maintaining a basic moral standard, offering a
revsionary view of human nature itself.


Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
Incest -- Cross-cultural studies.