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Sex and Repression in Savage Society

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Title: Sex and Repression in Savage Society  
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Subject: Marriage, Argonauts of the Western Pacific, Australian Aboriginal kinship, Chinese kinship, Ghost marriage (Chinese)
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Sex and Repression in Savage Society

Sex and Repression in Savage Society is a 1927 book by academic disciplines at the time.[2] The book is considered an important contribution to psychoanalysis, which Malinowski acknowledged was a "popular craze of the day."[3]

I have never been in any sense a follower of psycho-analytic practice, or an adherent of psycho-analytic theory; and now, while impatient of the exorbitant claims of psycho-analysis, of its chaotic arguments and tangled terminology, I must yet acknowledge a deep sense of indepbtedness to it for stimulation as well for valuable instruction in some aspects of human psychology.[3]

The book is divided into four parts. In Part 1 (The Formation of a Complex), he lays out the issues related to society, situating the family as "the cradle of nascent culture." He describes how taboos that develop within a society must then be enforced through authority and repression.

Malinowski's studies of the Trobriand islanders challenged the Freudian proposal that psychosexual development (e.g. the Oedipus complex) was universal.[4] He reported that in the insular matriarchal society of the Trobriand, boys are disciplined by their maternal uncles, not their fathers; impartial, avuncular discipline. Malinowski reported that boys dreamed of feared uncles, not of beloved fathers, thus, power — not sexual jealousy — is the source of Oedipal conflict in such non–Western societies.


  1. ^ Connell, R. W. (2002). Gender , p. 122. Wiley-Blackwell, ISBN 978-0-7456-2716-8
  2. ^ Young, D. (1928). Malinowski's Sex and Repression in Savage Society (review). Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 25, p. 490.
  3. ^ a b Malinowski, Bronislaw (1927). Sex and repression in savage society. Routledge Classics (Psychology Press), ISBN 978-0-415-25554-7
  4. ^ Doniger, Gertrude (1930. The Oedipus complex in savage society. In Sanger, Margaret (Ed.). Birth Control Review, p. 288.

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