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Consanguineous Sexual Relationships In Societies Throughout The World

3554 words - 15 pages

Consanguineous Sexual Relationships in Societies throughout the WorldRosie Hunerwadel4/13/09Anthropology 324I'm originally from the Sothern United States so I hear a lot of jokes about incest. This doesn't really offend me because there are derogatory jokes about all regions of the world, but it got me thinking, is the South any more predispose to incest then the rest of the country? Then the rest of the world? I wanted to find out, and this paper gave me the perfect vehicle to do just that.What I learned was both surprising and enlightening. I found views on incest that go against everything I've ever been taught, however they have opened my eyes to a different way of thinking. In the rest ...view middle of the document...

Second, "rare culturally sanctioned abrogations of the incest taboo are known, one of the foremost being the…marital union of royal siblings." Third, "as the immediacy of biological relationship decreases, sanctions against sexual intimacy may be relaxed or disappear."Incest is viewed in many different ways in areas around the world. Modern day North America is for all intensive purposes of this paper pretty boring when it comes to this topic. Because America was colonized much later, Americans have pretty much always prescribed to the stereotypical reaction towards incest. The only real academic literature about incest in the United States is not on consensual incestuous relations, but sexual abuse, most commonly by a father to a daughter but also between other adults violating the innocence of children throughout there family. Western Europe has a longer history and is therefore more interesting. The royal families of Europe were known to only marry within their own ranks, they never married their brothers, sisters, mothers or fathers, but first cousins were considered perfectly acceptable. This practice served two purposes. One was that it preserved royal blood lines, but more importantly it was seen as the best way to insure political safety for you country. For example Spain was far less likely to attack England while one of its princesses was married to the British king. Now a days Europe looks at incest much the same way as North America. This might have something to do with the hemophilia that has "plagued the male royals of Europe through the last three centuries" do to all the inbreeding (Leiber 2006:370). Another interesting thing about Europe is that in some countries they have not only laws banning incestuous marriage but affinal marriages as well.Incest today is a very controversial topic among the anthropological community. Some argue that there is a natural repulsion to mating with someone you have been reared with, others say that incest taboos are consciously produced by man but that the reasoning is indisputable and should be universally accepted. There is a small group who even believe that incest has a place in modern society.The Westermarck effect is an idea that was proposed by Finnish anthropologist Edward Westermarck. It states that "the mechanism making for inbreeding avoidance is precultural, and involves negative imprinting on intimate associates during a critical period of early childhood (between roughly 2 and 6 years of age)." The really interesting thing about this theory is it doesn't just apply to brothers and sisters who are genetically related. If two children, regardless of who there parents are and who is actually raising them, are reared together they are far less likely to show sexual attraction for one another. There are two main cultural practices that are put forth as evidence for this "mechanism," the kibbutz of Israel; and the sim pua adoptions of Taiwan and Hong Kong (Leiber 2006:369).Kibbutzs...

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