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Books, Journals, New Media
June 20, 2001

CelibacyCelibacy, Culture, and Society: The Anthropology of Sexual Abstinence

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorDavid H.MorseMS, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


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JAMA. 2001;285(23):3028-3029. doi:10.1001/jama.285.23.3028-JBK0620-3-1

Celibacy, Culture, and Society offers an in-depth examination of the anthropology of sexual abstinence. This edited volume includes chapters by a variety of individuals, using diverse perspectives. The goal is "to explore . . . examples of the occurrences, perceptions, and meanings of celibacy."

A definite strength is the space devoted to comparative analysis of sexual abstinence, as evidenced by several chapters dealing with non-Western cultures, including India, Mexico, Southeast Asia, Chile, and Kenya. Historical and individual perspectives on celibacy are also represented in this edited volume. Chapters are organized under three main themes: "Celibacy, Kinship, and Social Organization," "Celibacy in Cultural Systems," and "Celibacy, Choice, and Control."

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