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Primal Horde Theory

Page history last edited by Charlie Barton 14 years, 3 months ago

To come up with the primal horde theory, Freud used the work of Charles Darwin to speculate that in primitve societies the social unit was a primal horde.


A primal horde is a group of people arranged around a single dominant male, who has total authority over the group and holds claim over the females.


Freud suggested that our ancestors may have killed the 'alpha' male out of jealousy as this male maintained sexual rights over the women of the horde. This will have caused a great sense of guilt, as this male will have been respected and feared. The guilt caused will have passed through history into people's unconscious minds (he suggests this might have been genetically inherited). The males focus their guilt onto a totem animal (animism, meaning believe spitrits to be in rocks, trees and animals), who the pray and make sacrifices to in order to atone for the crime. Over time, this totem of the murdered leader rose in reputation amongst the hordes becoming an early God.


Evidence of animism;

Herbert Graf had a phobia of horses. Frued concluded that Graf was replacing his fear of his father with horses. The young boy found himself wishing the horse would 'fall over' which Fruedsaw to represent the desire to kill his own father


However there are critisisms of Frueds theory;

The priaml horde theory is not supported by modern anthropological evidence.

The evidence doesn't fit/lead to the conclusion

Its a sexist theory that is overally related to male focus. Religion is widely believed by people-including females.

Not all societs had totem objects that they worshipped

The entire theory was based on Darwins speculations not evidence.

It is not now accapted that people were grouped into hordes

E. E. Evans Pritchard -Anthropologist- doubts this ever happened

So, the whole idea that giult was passed down from generation to generation has likewise been discredited, the primal horde theory is interesting but not based on scientific evidence.


Examples of modern day totems;

Holy communion = Jesus = Totemic (bread and wine)


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