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Muensterberger, W. (1992). Love and Sex in Twelve Cultures: By Robert Endleman. New York: Psyche Press, 1989. 141 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 61:477-481.

(1992). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 61:477-481

Love and Sex in Twelve Cultures: By Robert Endleman. New York: Psyche Press, 1989. 141 pp.

Review by:
Werner Muensterberger

In 1927, Bronislav Malinowski published his, at the time, sensational work, Sex and Repression in Savage Society. On the basis of years of fieldwork in the Trobriand Islands, he questioned the validity of the presence of the oedipus complex as far as matriarchal social organization is concerned. Eight years later, Margaret Mead's study of Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies appeared. While Malinowski's response to psychoanalytic propositions was openly critical, leading to the well-known controversy between him and Ernest Jones, Mead treated her subject with greater finesse. Both authors dealt extensively with the natives' attitude toward sex activities and sexual relations.

Since then anthropologists working in the field, being aware of the causative connection between early development and the ensuing personality structure, have paid more attention and given more thought to patterns and details of sexual and emotional relationships in a great variety of native cultures. Biographies and culture-specific dimensions of interpersonal modalities have been the focus of a goodly number of field studies, some of them applying psychoanalytic considerations. One revealing aspect of these first-hand reports is the conspicuous absence of descriptions of love relationships beyond lusting or desiring, let alone stable, devout, post-ambivalent love as it is understood in more developed societies. Even the team of Swiss analysts, P. and G. Parin and Fritz Morgenthaler, studying some Dogon individuals in Mali and several Agni in the Ivory Coast in West Africa, have little to say about any notion corresponding to our idealization of the partner.

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