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A Social and Ecologic Analysis of Systematic Female Infanticide among the Netsilik Eskimo

Milton M. R. Freeman
American Anthropologist
New Series, Vol. 73, No. 5 (Oct., 1971), pp. 1011-1018
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Anthropological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/672815
Page Count: 8
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A Social and Ecologic Analysis of Systematic Female Infanticide among the Netsilik Eskimo
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Abstract

Systematic female infanticide among the Pelly Bay Eskimos is subjected to functional analysis wherein the adaptive rather than purposive nature of the behavior is stressed. The trait is seen to be ecologically adaptive insofar as it increases population, and in turn ecosystem, stability. It is argued that the explanation for the uniquely systematic infanticide practiced by this group is to be sought within the social dynamic of the individual household, and is not satisfactorily explained by recourse to environmental-demographic explanations.

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