chapter  7
9 Pages

Quandaries of the Incest Taboo

In the developmental story, incest is generally described as a punishable fantasy. And one of the main questions that emerges within the context of the contemporary social discussion of incest is whether it is real or whether it is fantasized, and how one might be able to determine epistemologically the difference between the two. For some, the answer to the epistemological quandary lies in whether there can be false memories, and what respect is to be given to first-person narrative accounts of experiences that are often attributed to early childhood. For others, the question of the “reality” of incest links up with broader questions in the historiography of memory, whether historical “events” can be confirmed apart from the interpretive field in which they appear and, whether, accordingly, something like the nondeniability of traumatic events, usually typified by the destruction of European Jewry, can be confidently asserted against revisionist historians.