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Róheim, G. (1936). Sex and Culture: By I. D. Unwin. (Oxford University Press, 1934. Pp. 677. Price 36 s.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 17:243-245.

(1936). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 17:243-245

Sex and Culture: By I. D. Unwin. (Oxford University Press, 1934. Pp. 677. Price 36 s.)

Review by:
Géza Róheim

In reviewing this book I would rather stress the question of method than the conclusions drawn by the author. The author is trying to demonstrate that societies are either 'zoistic' or 'manistic' or 'deistic', that these forms of society represent phases of cultural evolution and are in a definite correlation with the reduction of sexual opportunity. It will strike the anthropologist that this classification is arbitrary. Why should we regard the form in which the concept of the super-natural appears in a certain area as the only important feature in classifying a society? Moreover the classification itself is extremely doubtful. Supernatural beings are usually 'zoistic', 'manistic' and 'divine' at the same time and not either one thing or the other. These categories are familiar to all students of anthropology: we know them as 'animalistisch', 'manistisch', 'solar' in one of the early publications of Frobenius. We are told that the Trobriand Islanders are 'zoistic' (p. 105). As they have prenuptial sexual freedom they must be zoistic, according to Dr. Unwin's main theory. However, the rôle played by totemism is slight indeed in this society, 'but the harvest period is directly followed by the mila-mila, the animal feast associated with the return of ancestral spirits to the village' (Malinowski). But I can talk with more authority on an area I know personally. Dobu and Duau are very similar culturally to the Trobriands. If a society is called 'manistic'

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