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A Research Note on Incest

Svend Riemer
American Journal of Sociology
Vol. 45, No. 4 (Jan., 1940), pp. 566-575
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2770266
Page Count: 10
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
A Research Note on Incest
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Abstract

Incest occurs not infrequently in Sweden among agricultural laborers of low cultural standard and within a similarly disorganized group of industrial laborers. A sociological investigation into the causes of violation of the usually very stringet incest taboo reveals the importance of the typical life-history in these social strata, showing a unique configuration of circumstances. Home is usually left at a very early age; broken homes, psychological tension between the parents, and frequency of child labor tend to minimize the educational influences. The occupational life shows a frequency of change of jobs and even occupations. A declining trend in the occupational career will be observed at the inception of incestuous behavior. Sometime before the beginning of the incestuous relationship between father and daughter the routine of everyday life suffers and interruption from such a cause as accident, economic trouble, or disease. In almost all cases of father-daughter-incest-by far the most frequent type-the father suffers extreme sexual frustation, having been refused sexual intercourse with his wife. These different instances of the life-history have to be integrated into a comprehensive conception of the social attitudes of the patient. Thus, incest is regarded as due to indifference toward social responsibilities and coinciding with an extreme frustation of the sexual drive.

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