Eating People: Understanding Cannibalism

David Lester, PhD
Stockton University, Galloway, NJ, USA

Series: Psychology Research Progress
BISAC: PSY022000



Volume 10

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Special issue: Resilience in breaking the cycle of children’s environmental health disparities
Edited by I Leslie Rubin, Robert J Geller, Abby Mutic, Benjamin A Gitterman, Nathan Mutic, Wayne Garfinkel, Claire D Coles, Kurt Martinuzzi, and Joav Merrick


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Eating People: Understanding Cannibalism by David Lester reviews current knowledge about cannibalism. The book details examples of cannibalism in order for groups to survive after shipwrecks and airplane crashes, and in times of famine during wars. Examples of cannibalism during World War Two and in the German concentration camps is presented. Lester described his recent research on efforts to provide empirical data for a typology of cannibals and on serial murderers who have engaged in cannibalism of their victims.

Other topics include: cannibalism in ancient mythology, cannibalism in animals, body parts used for medicinal purposes, and modern fads such as drinking urine and eating the placenta after childbirth. Lester also reviews current debates about cannibalism such as whether primitive societies ever incorporated cannibalism as a cultural custom in their societies and whether anthropological reports of cannibalism in these societies can be believed since anthropologists have never witnessed cannibalism. Arguments that children like cannibal fairy stories because those stories satisfy their unconscious desires are criticized, and the onus placed on their parents who choose to read such stories. Finally, cannibalism in the culture with the best documentation of cannibalism over the last 2,000 years (China) is detailed, and this provides evidence for different types of cannibalism including survival cannibalism and revenge cannibalism.
(Imprint: Novinka)

Prologue: Cannibalism Today

Chapter 1. Cannibalism in Primitive Societies: Did it Ever Exist?

Chapter 2. Reports of Cannibalism in the Past

Chapter 3. What if Arens is Wrong?

Chapter 4. Survival Cannibalism

Chapter 5. Cannibalism in Wartime

Chapter 6. Cannibalism in the Psychiatrically Disturbed

Chapter 7. Types of Criminal Cannibals

Chapter 8. Who Becomes a Cannibal

Chapter 9. Cannibalism in Myths

Chapter 10. Cannibalism in Fairy Tales

Chapter 11. Body Parts as Medicine

Chapter 12. Cannibalism and Religion

Chapter 13. Cannibalism in Animals

Chapter 14. Cannibalism in China

Chapter 15. Conclusions


Academics but also lay people

Cannibalism, serial killers, necrophilia

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