Edward Westermarck

Westermarck, Edward


Born Nov. 20, 1862, in Hel-singfors, now Helsinki; died Sept. 4, 1939, in Lapinlahti. Finnish ethnologist and sociologist.

Westermarck was a professor at the University of London from 1907 to 1930 and a professor at the Swedish university in the city of Turku (Finland) from 1918 to 1932. His major work, The History of Human Marriage, is valuable for its abundant factual material but is extremely controversial in its general conclusions. (Westermarck defended the reactionary theory of the primordial nature of the monogamous family.)


The Origin and Development of Moral Ideas, vols. 1-2. London, 1906-08.
The History of Human Marriage, 5th ed., vols. 1-3. London, 1925.
Ritual and Belief in Morocco, vols. 1-2. [London] 1926.
References in periodicals archive ?
Psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud proposed the former explanation, and sociologist Edward Westermarck proposed the latter, arguing that there is a critical period while people are growing up during which if they are raised with someone they won't find them attractive.
Proposed more than 80 years ago by Finnish sociologist Edward Westermarck, the theory states that infants raised together would find it difficult to form sexual feelings for one another as adults, regardless of their genetic relationship.
The first, proposed by Finnish anthropologist Edward Westermarck in 1891, holds that natural selection has endowed humans and other animals with an u9nconscious mental tendency to avoid inbreeding and its harmful genetic effects on offspring.