The University of Arizona

Anthropological Perspectives on Infanticide

Alexandra A. Brewis

Abstract


Infanticidal behavior has been very common through-out human history. It is suggested that progenicidal behavior, whether consciously or unconsciously practiced, be defined and considered within a cultural, ecological and historical matrix in anthropological studies. Sociobiological and materialist interpretive models are considered too extremist by many anthropologists. Both approaches have an inherent tendency to treat "culture" as a subsidiary variable in infanticide, rather than as encompassing progenicidal phenomena and strategies. A useful conceptual framework with which to approach data collection is one where individuals negotiate progenicidal and child care decision-making within a sociocultural, ecological, technological, demographic and economic framework.

Keywords


Infanticide

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