Giving Life, Giving Death cover
Giving Life, Giving Death
Psychoanalysis, Anthropology, Philosophy
Although women alone have the ability to bring children into the world, modern Western thought tends to discount this female prerogative. In Giving Life, Giving Death, Lucien Scubla argues that structural anthropology sees women as objects of exchange that facilitate alliance-building rather than as vectors of continuity between generations. Examining the work of Lévi-Strauss, Freud, and Girard, as well as ethnographic and clinical data, Giving Life, Giving Death seeks to explain why, in constructing their master theories, our greatest thinkers have consistently marginalized the cultural and biological fact of maternity. In the spirit of Freud’s Totem and Taboo, Scubla constructs an anthropology that posits a common source for family and religion. His wide-ranging study explores how rituals unite violence and the sacred and intertwine the giving of death and the giving of life.
Publication Date: September 1st, 2016
420 pages| 6 in x 9 in
Lucien Scubla is a researcher at the Institut Marcel Mauss of the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. He is the author of a study on Claude Lévi-Strauss and wrote the preface for the French translation of Social Origins, a posthumous work by A. M. Hocart.  

Early Praise

Giving Life, Giving Death delivers a challenge to both psychoanalystM. B. DeBevoises and anthropologists. It makes something that neither group has wanted to see look like an obvious fact, namely that the desire and organization of human societies do not revolve around penisneid, the Oedipus complex (classically interpreted), or alliance, but instead around masculine envy of women’s power to give birth and relations of filiation as much as or more than alliance. Giving Life, Giving Death marks a turning point in the field.”
Alain Caillé, professor of sociology, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense

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