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Children of the Desert

Western Tribes of Central Australia. Torchbooks

By (author) Geza Roheim
Format: Paperback
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States
Imprint: Joanna Cotler Books
Published: 30th Nov 1976
Dimensions: w 140mm h 200mm
ISBN-10: 0061319066
ISBN-13: 9780061319068
Barcode No: 9780061319068

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Kirkus US
One of the foremost proponents of "psychoanalytic anthropology" sifts the cultural life of the Australian aborigines (most of his research seems to have been conducted some forty years ago). Roheim argues that, ". . . we are dealing with a group of human beings whose most powerful motive force is their latent Oedipal striving, and who react to this striving by erecting a series of barriers - none of which is really effective - against the return of the repressed." His presentation of their customs and character certainly supports his thesis: the elaborate kinship system of marriage, the position of the maternal uncle, the practice of subincision, the prevalence of rape, the valuation of the small penis, the symbolic tjurunga emblem, the common sexual play of the children. Yet Roheim is more concerned with offering data than proselytizing psychoanalysis; he explores the importance of the quest for food, the rank of the old men and the chiefs, and the myths and songs of the tribes. Although his vocabulary is somewhat technical, Roheim is not abstruse, and he presents a psycho-sexual perspective that other anthropologists tend to dismiss. (Kirkus Reviews)