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Money-Kyrle, R. (1933). Applied Psycho-Analysis: 'Discussion on Ignorance of Procreation'. Man, vol. XXXII, January-November, 1932. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 14:270-271.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Applied Psycho-Analysis: 'Discussion on Ignorance of Procreation'. Man, vol. XXXII, January-November, 1932

(1933). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 14:270-271

Applied Psycho-Analysis: 'Discussion on Ignorance of Procreation'. Man, vol. XXXII, January-November, 1932

R. Money-Kyrle

The perennial discussion concerning Trobriander theories of conception still continues with unabated vigour. Professor Malinowski (Pigs, Papuans and Police Court Perspective, February), replying to Mr. Rentoul's criticism (Man, 1931, 162), complains that the view has been foisted upon him that 'the Trobrianders are absolutely ignorant of physiological paternity'. His real opinion is that there is a 'vague idea as to some nexus between sexual connection and pregnancy, whereas there is no idea whatever concerning man's contribution towards the new life being formed in the mother's body'. Dr. Perry, returning to the same subject (Theology and Physiological Paternity, July), quotes examples of theological theories of parenthood in peoples who are by no means ignorant of the real cause. He suggests that 'the Trobrianders are not ignorant of the physiological doctrine of paternity', but that 'in their minds there is a conflict between common sense and tradition'. Mr. Hornblower (November)


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suggests that the Trobriander beliefs on the origin of children belong 'to the older stratum of thought which had become common to the forefathers of a great part of mankind'.

The Rev. T. Cullen Young records some amusing lists from the receipt books of Three Medicine Men in Northern Nyasaland (October). Since these receipts give some indication of the anxieties from which the people suffer, it is interesting to note that a very large proportion of them are for the cure of sexual troubles. Here are a few examples: 'To restore virility'. 'To avoid harm after intercourse with a menstruating woman'. 'To conceal intimacy—(a) with a girl; (b) with a woman'. 'To end affection of woman wronged', etc.

The April number contains a short summary of Dr. Glover's paper, Common Problems in Psycho-Analysis and Anthropology (March, 1932). According to this summary, Dr. Glover suggested that anthropologists might be able to 'subdivide different tribal organizations in accordance with the balance of psychotic, neurotic, and "reality" reactions', and thus establish interesting parallels between individual and racial (social) development.

R. Money-Kyrle.

P.S.—In the December number of Man, Mr. A. G. Rentoul, writing again on the alleged ignorance of physical paternity among the Trobrianders, quotes the following highly significant legend: 'The girl Ilouma, desiring a child, fell asleep in a limestone cave. From above her the stalactite known as Kaibua began to drip, and the lime water Litukwa entered her womb, and afterwards she conceived and bore a male child Tudava, afterwards to become famous in legend. To this day the story is told by old men, and that stalactite is looked upon as a phallic symbol. The point is that in the telling of the story stress is laid on the fact that the lime water Litukwa was the cause of the pregnancy!

'Surely, ' concludes Mr. Rentoul, 'the last paragraph indicates the existence of something more than "a vague idea as to some nexus between sexual connection and pregnancy"?'


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Article Citation

Money-Kyrle, R. (1933). Applied Psycho-Analysis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 14:270-271

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WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.