Taboo

In any given society, a taboo is an implicit prohibition on something (usually against an utterance or behavior) based on a cultural sense that it is excessively repulsive or, perhaps, too sacred for ordinary people.[1][2] Such prohibitions are present in virtually all societies.[1] On a comparative basis taboos, for example related to food items, seem to make no sense at all as what may be declared unfit for one group by custom or religion may be perfectly acceptable to another.

Whether scientifically correct or not, taboos are often meant to protect the human individual, but there are numerous other reasons for their existence. An ecological or medical background is apparent in many, including some that are seen as religious or spiritual in origin. Taboos can help use a resource more efficiently, but when applied to only a subsection of the community they can also serve to suppress a subsection of the community. A taboo acknowledged by a particular group or tribe as part of their ways, aids in the cohesion of the group, helps that particular group to stand out and maintain its identity in the face of others and therefore creates a feeling of "belonging".[3]

The meaning of the word "taboo" has been somewhat expanded in the social sciences to strong prohibitions relating to any area of human activity or custom that is sacred or forbidden based on moral judgment, religious beliefs, or cultural norms.[3] "Breaking a taboo" is usually considered objectionable by society in general, not merely a subset of a culture.

Etymology

The term "taboo" comes from the Tongan tapu or Fijian tabu ("prohibited", "disallowed", "forbidden"),[4] related among others to the Maori tapu and Hawaiian kapu. Its English use dates to 1777 when the British explorer James Cook visited Tonga, and referred to the Tongans' use of the term "taboo" for "any thing is forbidden to be eaten, or made use of".[5] He wrote:

Not one of them would sit down, or eat a bit of any thing.... On expressing my surprise at this, they were all taboo, as they said; which word has a very comprehensive meaning; but, in general, signifies that a thing is forbidden.[6]

The term was translated to him as "consecrated, inviolable, forbidden, unclean or cursed."[7] Tabu itself has been derived from alleged Tongan morphemes ta ("mark") and bu ("especially"), but this may be a folk etymology (Tongan does not actually have a phoneme /b/), and tapu is usually treated as a unitary, non-compound word inherited from Proto-Polynesian *tapu, in turn inherited from Proto-Oceanic *tabu, with the reconstructed meaning "sacred, forbidden."[8][9][10] In its current use on Tonga, the word tapu means "sacred" or "holy", often in the sense of being restricted or protected by custom or law. On the main island, the word is often appended to the end of "Tonga" as Tongatapu, here meaning "Sacred South" rather than "Forbidden South".

Examples

Os Filhos de Pindorama. Cannibalism in Brazil in 1557
Cannibalism, Brazil. Engraving by Theodor de Bry for Hans Staden's account of his 1557 captivity.

Sigmund Freud speculated that incest and patricide were the only two universal taboos and formed the basis of civilization.[11] However, although cannibalism, in-group murder, and incest are taboo in the majority of societies, exceptions can be found, such as marriages between brothers and sisters in Roman Egypt.[12][13] Modern Western societies, however, do not condone such relationships. These familial sexual activities are criminalised, even if all parties are consenting adults. Through an analysis of the language surrounding these laws, it can be seen how the policy makers, and society as a whole, find these acts to be immoral.[14][15][16]

Common taboos involve restrictions or ritual regulation of killing and hunting; sex and sexual relationships; reproduction; the dead and their graves; as well as food and dining (primarily cannibalism and dietary laws such as vegetarianism, kashrut, and halal) or religious (treif and haram). In Madagascar, a strong code of taboos, known as fady, constantly change and are formed from new experiences. Each region, village or tribe may have its own fady.

The word "taboo" gained popularity at times, with some scholars looking for ways to apply it where other English words had previously been applied. For example, J. M. Powis Smith, in his book The American Bible (editor's preface 1927), used "taboo" occasionally in relation to Israel's Tabernacle and ceremonial laws, including Exodus 30:36, Exodus 29:37; Numbers 16:37–38; Deuteronomy 22:9, Isaiah 65:5, Ezekiel 44:19 and Ezekiel 46:20.

Albert Schweitzer wrote a chapter about taboos of the people of Gabon. As an example, it was considered a misfortune for twins to be born, and they would be subject to many rules not incumbent on other people.[17]

Function

Communist and materialist theorists have argued that taboos can be used to reveal the histories of societies when other records are lacking.[18] Marvin Harris particularly endeavored to explain taboos as a consequence of ecologic and economic conditions.[19]

Modernity

Some argue that contemporary Western multicultural societies have taboos against tribalisms (for example, ethnocentrism and nationalism) and prejudices (racism, sexism, religious extremism).[20]

Changing social customs and standards also create new taboos, such as bans on slavery; extension of the pedophilia taboo to ephebophilia;[21] prohibitions on alcohol, tobacco, or psychopharmaceutical consumption (particularly among pregnant women); and the employment of politically correct euphemisms – at times quite unsuccessfully – to mitigate various alleged forms of discrimination.

Incest itself has been pulled both ways, with some seeking to normalize consensual adult relationships regardless of the degree of kinship[22] (notably in Europe)[23][24] and others expanding the degrees of prohibited contact (notably in the United States.)[25] Although the term taboo usually implies negative connotations, it is sometimes associated with enticing propositions in proverbs such as forbidden fruit is the sweetest.[26]

In medicine, professionals who practice in ethical and moral grey areas, or fields subject to social stigma such as late termination of pregnancy, may refrain from public discussion of their practice. Among other reasons, this taboo may come from concern that comments may be taken out of the appropriate context and used to make ill-informed policy decisions.[27][28]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Encyclopædia Britannica Online. "Taboo." Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2012. Retrieved 21 Mar. 2012
  2. ^ Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary, 11th Edition. "Taboo."
  3. ^ a b Meyer-Rochow, Victor Benno (2009). "Food taboos: their origins and purposes". Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine. 5-18:: 18. doi:10.1186/1746-4269-5-18. PMC 2711054. PMID 19563636. CC-BY icon.svg This article contains quotations from this source, which is available under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0) license.
  4. ^ Dixon, Robert M. W. (1988). A Grammar of Boumaa Fijian. p. 368. ISBN 978-0-226-15429-9.
  5. ^ Cook & King 1821, p. 462
  6. ^ Cook & King 1821, p. 348
  7. ^ (Cook & King 1821)
  8. ^ Online Etymology Dictionary. "Taboo."
  9. ^ "Online dictionary". Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. Retrieved 2007-06-05.
  10. ^ Biggs, Bruce. "Entries for TAPU [OC] Prohibited, under ritual restriction, taboo". Polynesian Lexicon Project Online. University of Auckland. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
  11. ^ Freud, Sigmund. Totem and Taboo.
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ Roffee, James A. (2014). "The Synthetic Necessary Truth Behind New Labour's Criminalisation of Incest". Social & Legal Studies. 23: 113–130. doi:10.1177/0964663913502068.
  15. ^ Roffee, James A. (2015). "When Yes Actually Means Yes". Roffee, James (2015). When Yes Actually Means Yes in Rape Justice. 72 - 91. doi:10.1057/9781137476159.0009. ISBN 9781137476159.
  16. ^ Roffee, J. A. (2014). "No Consensus on Incest? Criminalisation and Compatibility with the European Convention on Human Rights". Human Rights Law Review. 14 (3): 541–572. doi:10.1093/hrlr/ngu023.
  17. ^ Schweitzer, Albert. African Notebook 1958. Indiana University Press
  18. ^ Marta Dyczok; Oxana Gaman-Golutvina (2009). Media, Democracy and Freedom: The Post-Communist Experience. Peter Lang. p. 209. ISBN 978-3-0343-0311-8.
  19. ^ Marvin Harris, India's Sacred Cow (PDF), archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-06-10, retrieved 2015-07-20
  20. ^ Putnam, Robert D. (June 2007). "E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and community in the twenty-first century". Scandinavian Political Studies. 30 (2): 137–174. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9477.2007.00176.x. The 2006 Johan Skytte Prize Lecture.
  21. ^ S. Berlin, Frederick. "Interview with Frederick S. Berlin, M.D., Ph.D." Office of Media Relations. Archived from the original on June 23, 2011. Retrieved 2008-06-27.
  22. ^ Johann Hari (2002-01-09). "Forbidden love". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-04-11.
  23. ^ Hipp, Dietmar (2008-03-11). "German High Court Takes a Look at Incest". Der Spiegel. Retrieved 2008-04-12.
  24. ^ DONALDSON JAMES, SUSAN. "Professor Accused of Incest With Daughter". ABC Nightline. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
  25. ^ Joanna Grossman, Should the law be kinder to kissin' cousins?
  26. ^ Ladygina-Kots, Nadezhda Nikolaevna. "Infant Ape and Human Child: (Instincts, Emotions, Play, Habits)." Journal of Russian & East European Psychology 38.1 (2000): 5-78.
  27. ^ Harris, Lisa (2008). "Second Trimester Abortion Provision: Breaking the Silence and Changing the Discourse" (PDF). Reproductive Health Matters. 16 (31): 74–81. doi:10.1016/S0968-8080(08)31396-2. PMID 18772087. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  28. ^ O'Donnell, Jenny; Weitz, Tracy; Freedman, Lori (November 2011). "Resistance and vulnerability to stigmatization in abortion work". Social Science and Medicine. 73 (9): 1357–1364. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2011.08.019. PMID 21940082.

Bibliography

Culture and menstruation

Culture and menstruation is about cultural aspects surrounding how society views menstruation. A "menstrual taboo" is any social taboo concerned with menstruation. In some societies it involves menstruation being perceived as unclean or embarrassing, inhibiting even the mention of menstruation whether in public (in the media and advertising) or in private (among friends, in the household, or with men). Many traditional religions consider menstruation ritually unclean, although anthropologists point out that the concepts 'sacred' and 'unclean' may be intimately connected.Different cultures view menstruation in different ways. The basis of many conduct norms and communication about menstruation in western industrial societies is the belief that menstruation should remain hidden. By contrast, in many hunter-gatherer societies, particularly in Africa, menstrual observances are viewed in a positive light, without any connotation of uncleanness.

Euphemism

A euphemism is an innocuous word or expression used in place of one that may be found offensive or suggest something unpleasant. Some euphemisms are intended to amuse, while others use bland, inoffensive terms for concepts that the user wishes to downplay. Euphemisms may be used to mask profanity or refer to taboo topics such as disability, sex, excretion, or death in a polite way.

Food and drink prohibitions

Some people do not eat various specific foods and beverages in conformity with various religious, cultural, legal or other societal prohibitions. Many of these prohibitions constitute taboos. Many food taboos and other prohibitions forbid the meat of a particular animal, including mammals, rodents, reptiles, amphibians, fish, molluscs, crustaceans and insects, which may relate to a disgust response being more often associated with meats than plant-based foods. Some prohibitions are specific to a particular part or excretion of an animal, while others forgo the consumption of plants or fungi.

Some food prohibitions can be defined as rules, codified by religion or otherwise, about which foods, or combinations of foods, may not be eaten and how animals are to be slaughtered or prepared. The origins of these prohibitions are varied. In some cases, they are thought to be a result of health considerations or other practical reasons; in others, they relate to human symbolic systems.Some foods may be prohibited during certain religious periods (e.g., Lent), at certain stages of life (e.g., pregnancy), or to certain classes of people (e.g., priests), even though the food is otherwise permitted. On a comparative basis, what may be declared unfit for one group may be perfectly acceptable to another within the same culture or across different cultures. Food taboos usually seem to be intended to protect the human individual from harm, spiritually or physically, but there are numerous other reasons given within cultures for their existence. An ecological or medical background is apparent in many, including some that are seen as religious or spiritual in origin. Food taboos can help utilizing a resource more efficiently, but when applied to only a subsection of the community, a food taboo can also lead to the monopolization of a food item by those exempted. A food taboo acknowledged by a particular group or tribe as part of their ways, aids in the cohesion of the group, helps that particular group to stand out and maintain its identity in the face of others and therefore creates a feeling of "belonging".

Foot

The foot (plural feet) is an anatomical structure found in many vertebrates. It is the terminal portion of a limb which bears weight and allows locomotion. In many animals with feet, the foot is a separate organ at the terminal part of the leg made up of one or more segments or bones, generally including claws or nails.

Incest taboo

An incest taboo is any cultural rule or norm that prohibits sexual relations between closely related persons. All human cultures have norms that exclude certain close relatives from those considered suitable or permissible sexual or marriage partners, making such relationships taboo. However, different norms exist among cultures as to which blood relations are permissible as sexual partners and which are not. Sexual relations between related persons which are subject to the taboo are called incestuous relationships.

Some cultures proscribe sexual relations between clan-members, even when no traceable biological relationship exists, while members of other clans are permissible irrespective of the existence of a biological relationship. In many cultures, certain types of cousin relations are preferred as sexual and marital partners, whereas in others these are taboo. Some cultures permit sexual and marital relations between aunts/uncles and nephews/nieces. In some instances, brother–sister marriages have been practised by the elites with some regularity. Parent–child and sibling–sibling unions are almost universally taboo.

Mat (Russian profanity)

Mat (Russian: мат; матерщи́на / ма́терный язы́к / мáтный язы́к, matershchina / materny yazyk / matny yazyk) is the term for vulgar, obscene, or profane language in Russian and some other Slavic language communities. The term mat derives from the Russian word for mother, a component of the key phrase "Ёб твою мать", "yob tvoyu mat'" ([I] fuck[ed] your mother).

Naming taboo

A naming taboo is a cultural taboo against speaking or writing the given names of exalted persons in China and within the Chinese cultural sphere. It was enforced by several laws throughout Imperial China, but its cultural and possibly religious origins predate the Qin dynasty. Not respecting the appropriate naming taboos was considered a sign of lacking education and respect, and brought shame both to the offender and the offended person.

Religious restrictions on the consumption of pork

Religious restrictions on the consumption of pork are common particularly in the Middle East amongst Jews and Muslims. Swine were prohibited in ancient Syria and Phoenicia, and the pig and its flesh represented a taboo observed, Strabo noted, at Comana in Pontus. A lost poem of Hermesianax, reported centuries later by the traveller Pausanias, reported an etiological myth of Attis destroyed by a supernatural boar to account for the fact that "in consequence of these events the Galatians who inhabit Pessinous do not touch pork". Concerning Abrahamic religions, clear restrictions exist in Jewish dietary laws (Kashrut) and in Islamic dietary laws (Halal).

Although Christianity is also an Abrahamic religion, most of its adherents are permitted to consume pork – justified by Peter's vision of a sheet with animals and several verses of the New Testament which guides Christians with the Good News of the Gospels. Since Christianity lost most of its roots from Judaism, Christians are not bound to some restrictions of Mosaic Law. However, Seventh-day Adventists consider pork taboo, along with other foods forbidden by Jewish law. The Eritrean Orthodox Church and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church do not permit pork consumption.

Many Yazidis in Kurdistan regard pork as forbidden.

Taboo (2017 TV series)

Taboo is a BBC television drama series produced by Scott Free London and Hardy Son & Baker. It aired on BBC One in the United Kingdom, on 7 January 2017 and on FX in the United States, on 10 January 2017. A second series was announced during March 2017.

The series was created by Steven Knight, Tom Hardy, and his father, Chips Hardy, based on a story written by Tom and Chips Hardy. The eight-part series, set in 1814, begins with James Delaney (Tom Hardy) returning to England after twelve years in Africa with fourteen stolen diamonds, following the death of his father and as the war with the United States is nearing its end.

Kristoffer Nyholm and Anders Engström each directed four episodes of the first series. Max Richter composed the score.

The series has received generally favourable reviews, with critics praising Hardy's performance, visual presentation, and pacing. Two more series are planned.

Taboo (Christabelle Borg song)

"Taboo" is a song performed by Maltese singer Christabelle Borg. The song was written by Johnny Sanchez, Thomas G:son, Muxu, and Borg.

Taboo (game)

Taboo is a word, guessing, and party game published by Parker Brothers in 1989 (subsequently purchased by Hasbro). The objective of the game is for a player to have their partners guess the word on the player's card without using the word itself or five additional words listed on the card.

The game is similar to Catch Phrase, also from Hasbro, in which a player tries to get his or her teammates to guess words using verbal clues.

Taboo (rapper)

Jaime Luis Gomez (born July 14, 1975), known professionally as Taboo, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, actor and DJ, best known as a member of the hip hop group The Black Eyed Peas.

Taboo Tattoo

Taboo Tattoo (タブー・タトゥー) is a Japanese action seinen manga series written and illustrated by Shinjirō. It was serialized by Media Factory in its Monthly Comic Alive magazine between November 2009 and June 2017. The series was compiled into thirteen volumes between 2010 and 2017. The series is published in French by Bamboo Édition's Doki-Doki imprint. An anime adaptation was greenlit and aired from July 2016 to September 2016. The manga has been licensed for release in English by Yen Press.

Taboo Tuesday (2004)

Taboo Tuesday (2004) was a professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). It took place on October 19, 2004 at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was the inaugural Taboo Tuesday event, marking the first time in which the fans were given the chance to vote on stipulations for the matches. The voting for the event started on October 18, 2004 and ended during the event. Eight professional wrestling matches were featured on the event's card. The buildup to the matches and the scenarios that took place before, during, and after the event were planned by WWE's script writers. The event starred wrestlers from the Raw brand: a storyline expansion of the promotion where employees are assigned to a wrestling brand under the WWE banner.The main event was a Steel cage match, which is fought in a cage with four sheets of mesh metal around, in, or against the edges of the wrestling ring, in which Randy Orton defeated Ric Flair by pinfall. Two bouts were featured on the undercard. In respective singles matches, World Heavyweight Champion Triple H defeated Shawn Michaels to retain his title and Gene Snitsky defeated Kane in a Weapon of Choice match, a match in which the use of foreign objects, which is usually illegal under the standard rules of professional wrestling, is allowed.

Taboo Tuesday grossed over $215,000 in ticket sales from an attendance of 3,500 and received 174,000 pay-per-view buys. This event helped WWE increase its pay-per-view revenue by $6.2m compared to the previous year. When the event was released on DVD, it reached a peak position of seventh on Billboard's DVD Sales Chart.

Taboo Tuesday (2005)

Taboo Tuesday (2005) was a professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), which took place on November 1, 2005, at the iPayOne Center in San Diego, California. It was the second annual Taboo Tuesday event in which the fans were given the chance to vote on stipulations for the matches. The voting for the event started on October 24, 2005, and ended during the event. Eight professional wrestling matches were featured on the event's card. The buildup to the matches and the scenarios that took place before, during, and after the event were planned by WWE's script writers. The event starred wrestlers from the Raw brand: a storyline expansion of the promotion where employees are assigned to a wrestling brand under the WWE banner.

The main event was a Triple Threat match, a standard match involving three wrestlers, for the WWE Championship. In this match, John Cena defeated Kurt Angle and Shawn Michaels to retain his title. Two bouts were featured on the undercard. In a retrospective singles matches for the WWE Intercontinental Championship, Ric Flair defeated Triple H in a Steel cage match, which is fought in a cage with four sheets of mesh metal around, in, or against the edges of the wrestling ring, in which Flair won by escaping the cage and having both feet touch the arena floor. The other featured an Interpromotional tag team match where Rey Mysterio and Matt Hardy (SmackDown!) defeated Chris Masters and Snitsky (Raw).

Taboo Tuesday received 174,000 pay-per-view buys, which was the same amount as the previous year's event. The professional wrestling section of the Canadian Online Explorer website rated the entire event 7 out of 10 stars, higher than the 2004 event rating of 5 out of 10 stars.

Taboo on the dead

The taboo on the dead includes the taboo against touching of the dead and those surrounding them; the taboo against mourners of the dead; and the taboo against anything associated with the dead.

Totem and Taboo

Totem and Taboo: Resemblances Between the Mental Lives of Savages and Neurotics, or Totem and Taboo: Some Points of Agreement between the Mental Lives of Savages and Neurotics, (German: Totem und Tabu: Einige Übereinstimmungen im Seelenleben der Wilden und der Neurotiker) is a 1913 book by Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, in which the author applies his work to the fields of archaeology, anthropology, and the study of religion. It is a collection of four essays inspired by the work of Wilhelm Wundt and Carl Jung and first published in the journal Imago (1912–13): "The Horror of Incest", "Taboo and Emotional Ambivalence", "Animism, Magic and the Omnipotence of Thoughts", and "The Return of Totemism in Childhood".

Though Totem and Taboo has been seen as one of the classics of anthropology, comparable to Edward Burnett Tylor's Primitive Culture (1871) and Sir James George Frazer's The Golden Bough (1890), the work is now considered discredited by anthropologists. The cultural anthropologist Alfred L. Kroeber was an early critic of Totem and Taboo, publishing a critique of the work in 1920. Some authors have seen redeeming value in the work.

WWE Cyber Sunday

Cyber Sunday was an annual professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). From 2004 to 2005, the event was known as Taboo Tuesday and was exclusive to the Raw brand.

During the event's "Taboo Tuesday" years, it was the first regularly-scheduled pay-per-view held by the company on a Tuesday since 1991's This Tuesday in Texas, the first regularly-scheduled non-Sunday pay-per-view since the 1994 Survivor Series, and the first non-Sunday pay-per-view of any kind since In Your House 8: Beware of Dog 2 in 1996. The inaugural event was held in October, and the 2005 event was pushed back to early November. By 2006 the show was moved to a more traditional Sunday night slot—alleviating problems with the taping schedule of SmackDown! (usually held on Tuesdays)—and renamed Cyber Sunday.

The most distinctive feature of Cyber Sunday was the ability for fans to vote on certain aspects of every match. The voting typically began in the middle of an episode of Raw a few weeks beforehand and ended during the pay-per-view, often moments before the match was slated to begin. Because of this, Cyber Sunday was billed as an "interactive pay-per-view". For the first four events, voting was made online through WWE.com, with the official tag line for the PPV being "Log On. Take Over." In 2008 however, this was replaced by votes through text messaging but this was only available to United States mobile carriers. However, the match between The Undertaker and The Big Show was made universal, as fans were allowed to vote for the match stipulation on WWE.com.

In 2009, the event's Pay-Per-View slot was replaced by Bragging Rights. However, the fan interaction aspects of the pay-per-view have since been incorporated into Raw as WWEActive (originally RawActive) for most Raw episodes.

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