Essay on Infanticide: Cross Cultural Analysis of the Causes of Infanticide

Essay on Infanticide: Cross Cultural Analysis of the Causes of Infanticide

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Infanticide is not unique to humans. It is practiced by many mammals including some primates. The main difference between human and animal infanticide is that infanticide in humans is performed by the parent(s) of the child while in the case of animals it is usually a male suitor (Caldwell and Caldwell, 2005, p. 208). In pre-modern societies infanticide was done instead of abortions as it allowed for sexual selection, it was much more effective than pre-modern contraception, and it did not require any special skills or esoteric knowledge (Caldwell and Caldwell,2005, p. 205). Infanticide has a history as a method of population control. It is more frequent to throw away girl babies. This may be because of dowries or other cultural reasons. Infanticide seems to occur primarily when it aids one parent, both parents or additional children to survive better or if when the infant has little chance of survival.
Infanticide is a way to alter the reproductive stream before the child has the status of a real person, which is culturally defined (source). The deaths of weak, illegitimate, excess, deformed and unwanted infants are not defined as murder when the infants have not yet been born into the social world. Infanticide occurs cross-culturally for a multitude of causes. The reasons for infanticide can be summed up into three categories: biological (including the health of the child and twin stigmas), economical (relation to other children, women's workload, and available resources) and cultural (preferred gender, illegitimate children). This essay will examine cross-culturally the biological, economic and cultural factors for infanticide.
Biological reasons for infanticide are prevalent especially in countries that lack full medical or...


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...(1) pp. 57-59
Low, Bobbi S. (2005). "Women's lives there, here, then, now: a review of women's ecological and demographic constraints cross-culturally". Evolution and Human Behaviour 26 (2005) pp. 64-87.
Malherbe, Vertrees C. (2007) "Born Into Bastardy: The Out-of-Wedlock Child in Early Victorian Cape Town. Journal of Family History Vol. 31 pp.21-44
Porter, Theresa and Gavin, Helen (2010) "Infanticide and Neonaticide: A Review of 40 years of research literature on incidence and causes". Trauma Violence Abuse 2010 pp. 99-112.
Rattigan, Cliona (2008) "I thought from her appearance that she was in the family way': Detecting Infancide Cases In Ireland 1900-1921". Family & Community History, Vol 11/2 Nov. 2008 pp. 134-151.
Ren, Xinhua Steve (1995) "Sex Difference in Infant and Child Mortality in Three Provinces In Chine". Social Science Med. Vol. 40. No. 9 pp. 1259-1269.

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