Cannibalism And Its Effects On Today 's Modern Society

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Cannibalism, also more formally known as anthropophagy, can be defined as the act of ingesting human flesh, blood or internal organs by a human being. The reasons behind cannibalism vary from being ritualistic to psychopathic and the practice manifests itself in many different forms. Often profoundly fantasised by Western society as “ the man-eating myth” (Arens 1979, in King 2000, p.106), cannibalism as a result has become subject to critical speculation and lingering doubt. This essay argues that although cannibalism is often conceptualised in today’s modern society as a myth, there is much anthropophagical evidence to suggest otherwise; that cannibalism is indeed an underlying reality. In support of this contention, this essay aims…show more content…
Typically associated with “sacred beliefs and matters related to the spiritual regeneration of the deceased, including respect and honour” (Carbonell et al. 2010, p.539), endo-cannibalism denotes an affectionate form of anthropophagy in which the consumed individuals were members of the same social or kinship group as those who consume them. In stark contrast, exo-cannibalism, otherwise known as warfare cannibalism, refers to the consumption of strangers, enemies, foreign individuals beyond the tribe and usually signifies “expressions of hostility, violence, and contempt and may indicate a clear predator/prey relationship between the consumers and the consumed” (Carbonell et al. 2010, p.539). Up until sometime during the late 1960s, the Amazonian Wari’ ate specific parts of their late in-laws’ (affines’) bodies and they did so out of compassion for the deceased and their immediate family; to gratify the former and console the latter. Endo-cannibalism was a grieving mechanism through which the bereaved came to terms with their loss and carried on living without being perpetually made sad by the presence of a rotting body in the cold, desolate earth. Opposed to the pervasive, functionalist/cultural materialistic perspective that cannibals eat human flesh solely for a scientific nutritional purpose for the same reason as others eat domestic animal flesh (Harris 1977, in Sahlins 1978, p.45), Wari’ mortuary
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