Virgin Birth Controversy. Study in the Anthropology of Ignorance

Anthropos 116 (2):405-418 (2021)
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Abstract

Virgin birth controversy enjoys a privileged status in the history of anthropology and reflects the exceptional interest anthropology takes in “biological facts” of human procreation. In the widest sense, this controversy centers around procreative beliefs, or more precisely, the “discovery” of people who were considered to be ignorant of the facts of physiological paternity and the causal relationship between copulation and pregnancy (in humans). This paper offers an overview of the main theoretical approaches and an insight into the variety of empirical findings presented by the numerous participants in the virgin birth debate. It especially focuses on a critical assessment of the provided argumentation on the subject of procreative ignorance, as well as the matter of interpretation of ethnographical facts and an analysis of the meaning of “biological facts” from a cross-cultural perspective.

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