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The historical consensus on father-daughter incest during the postwar years in the United States is that it was fully and effectively denied--by social workers, courts of law, criminologists, psychoanalysts, social scientists, and ultimately the public at large. (1) Sociologists defined incest "as a rare sexual perversion, a one-in-a million occurrence," while the American Bar Association, on the advice of the psychiatric profession, informed judges that women and children "often lie" about sexual abuse and that therefore they could not be trusted. (2) Psychoanalysts and anthropologists, following the lead of Sigmund Freud and Claude Levi Strauss, characterized the incest taboo as "effective and total" and hence unworthy of attention. (3) The assembled picture is of a seamless refusal to engage with the reality of incest, a virtual "silence" created by the disbelief of children's claims and the suppression of information. (4) Psychoanalysis has long been viewed as chiefly culpable; indeed the widespread influence of psychoanalysis is thought to have been an ethical disaster for the social services. (5) Once the psychoanalytic perspective on childhood fantasy, particularly Oedipal fantasy, began to influence social workers and child serving agencies, allegations of incest, historians have argued, ceased to be believed. It was, however, in 1955 that Kirson S. Weinberg, a rather obscure sociologist, wrote the first book-length study devoted solely to the question of incest in the United States. An attempt to look at incest in a systematic and scientific (which is not necessarily to say objective) manner, he examined the issue exhaustively: what forms were most common? How often was it prosecuted? Who were its perpetrators? What was their social class and racial makeup? What were the effects on its victims? He found, among other things, that father-daughter incest was the most common form of incest, and stated that prosecutions were not representative of actual incidence. These findings appeared only two years after Alfred Kinsey, the famous sexologist, published data that revealed that father-daughter incest occurred in closer to one in one hundred families than one in one million. (6) As Judith Lewis Herman pointed out in her groundbreaking book, Father-Daughter Incest (1981), Kinsey's statistics on father-daughter incest, unlike his information on masturbation or marital infidelity, did not become a public sensation. (7) Weinberg's book, meanwhile, made no visible impact at all on the public at large.

GENRE
Histoire
SORTIE
2005
22 mars
LANGUE
EN
Anglais
LONGUEUR
51
Pages
ÉDITEUR
Journal of Social History
TAILLE
264.2
Ko

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