Freud's primal horde: fact or fiction?

Farley, Helen (2003) Freud's primal horde: fact or fiction? Khthonios: A Journal for the Study of Religion, 1 (1). pp. 32-42. ISSN 1448-1286


The existence of the 'primal horde' is central to Sigmund Freud's theories on the beginnings of totemism and incest taboo in humankind. In this paper, I begin by considering Freud's theory and examining his sources, namely J. J. Atkinson and in particular, Charles Darwin. By Freud's own admission, the 'primal horde' had never been observed. I investigate the possibility that such a social structure ever existed. I consider the evidence as sourced from Charles Darwin and examine the possibility that Darwin's words were misinterpreted. Freud's idea of the 'primal horde' was generally accepted in anthropological circles early in the twentieth century as evidenced by Geza Roheim's enthusiastic support. I review how this theory lost favour in later times by considering the opinion of William Schmidt.

Statistics for USQ ePrint 23311
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published version made not accessible.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Australian Digital Futures Institute
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2013 01:15
Last Modified: 12 Sep 2013 01:15
Uncontrolled Keywords: Freud; religion; primal horde; taboo; totem
Fields of Research : 16 Studies in Human Society > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology
22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220405 Religion and Society
16 Studies in Human Society > 1608 Sociology > 160806 Social Theory
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9504 Religion and Ethics > 950404 Religion and Society

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only