The articles gathered here, written by eminent French anthropologists, present a novel angle on the way societies function. The writers argue that because societies are not abstract intellectual constructions, they cannot be dissociated from the physical individuals that constitute them, or from the affects (feelings and emotions) expressed by them. Included here are studies of Western and non-Western societies on such subjects as skin colour, religious rituals involving animals, witchcraft and flying sorcerers, passion in traditional North African cultures, and breast-feeding (both induced lactation to breastfeed infant girls and spontaneous lactation to breastfeed infant boys) in parts of Italy. Françoise Héritier is an anthropologist and teaches at the Collège de France. She is the author of Les Deux Soeurs et leur mère and Masculin/Féminin I and II, published by Editions Odile Jacob. Margarita Xanthakou, an anthropologist, is a research fellow at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS).
It is now generally accepted that contraception should be readily available.
In this new volume, anthropologists, biologists, psychoanalysts and political scientists continue their interdisciplinary examination of violence. What are our links with the animal world? Is the animal metaphor relevant when discussing violent acts committed by human beings against other human beings? What is the relationship between pain and violence? What part does violence play in social relations? What is nonviolence? Could the concept of nonviolence enable us to develop a universal ethical system? Françoise Héritier is an honorary professor at the Collège de France.
How can violence can be put in the service of religion ? What political gains can be made from cruelty ? How does a belief system encompassing hatred end in the massacre of entire populations ? Through reflections on, amongst other things, the Bible, Muslim law, the situation in Colombia, the ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia and the genocide of the Rwandan Tutsi, this book, the product of a seminar organised at the Collège de France by Françoise Héritier in 1995, benefits from a multi-disciplined approach in order to identify and understand a phenomenon which has occasionally plunged societies into a destructive frenzy. Françoise Héritier is a professor at the Collège de France where she heads the Laboratory of Social Anthropology.
The author explores the taboo regarding the incest of the second type which concerns blood relations of a same sex who share the same sexual partner. She makes us understand that the categories which we use to determine what is incestuous and what is not are founded on representations of the identical and the different, which are themselves derived from the difference in the sexes.