Giving Life, Giving Death
Psychoanalysis, Anthropology, Philosophy
Studies in Violence, Mimesis & Culture
Published by: Michigan State University Press
Imprint: Michigan State University Press
Sales Date: 2016-09-01
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.
Chapter 1. Freud and the Oedipus Legend
Chapter 2. Procreation and Headhunting: Fatherhood among the Marind
Chapter 3. The Guardians of Dogma: Jones, Malinowski, and the Maternal Uncle
Chapter 4. The Atom of Kinship, or the Absent Mother
Chapter 5. Incest of the Second Type: Impasses and Issues
Chapter 6. The Brother-Sister Relationship and the Principle of Male Dominance
Chapter 7. Conceptualizing Difference or Dissolving Hierarchy?: From Asymmetry to Parity
Chapter 8. Testart’s Law: Division of Labor and Sexual Identity
Chapter 9. Nature and Culture: The Return of the Sophists in Western Thought
Chapter 10. Reik, Guardian of Dogma: Couvade, Initiation Rites, and the Oedipus Complex
Chapter 11. Hierarchy of the Sexes and Hierarchy of Knowledge, or Plato among the Baruya
Chapter 12. Ethnology and Psychology in Róheim and Devereux: Identity, Homology, or Complementarity?
Chapter 13. Should Totem and Taboo Simply Be Forgotten?
Chapter 14. Freud, in Spite of Everything
Chapter 15. Conceiving and Transmitting
“Giving Life, Giving Death delivers a challenge to both psychoanalysts 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