Edward Westermarck

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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 LATE PROFESSOR EDWARD WESTERmarck cut his figure in the academy at the beginning of the last century, as an anthropologist arguing strenuously for the doctrine of "cultural relativism." He contended that there were no principles of right and wrong holding true in all places; that "moral" judgments will always be "relative" to the culture in which they are held.
The most urgent news that needs to be conveyed to Professor Wolfe rather resembles the news conveyed to that aspiring professor in Women and Gender Studies, or to those wayward followers of Edward Westermarck: It may be critical for Professor Wolfe to learn that he really has here no "empirical study," which required elaborate, expensive field work.
She reminds us that Wharton read Darwin, Spencer, and anthropologists Edward Westermarck and Paul Topinard, as well as several Darwinian commentators, but in only a few instances can she show direct imprints of their work on Wharton's fiction.
Adding comparative data on social behavior to Darwin's a nd Smith's ideas, sociologist Edward Westermarck (1862-1939) defended a theory of ethics "rooted in the natural moral sentiments," says Arnhart.
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.