Ali M. Abrar


Taboos are often viewed with suspicion by modern eyes. The very word "taboo" evokes a sense of unfreedom, of limitation. Indeed, when one thinks of now-extinct taboos, the repressive and reactionary nature of taboos is clearly displayed. This, however, is not an argument for the dismantling of all taboos. There are many aspects of social lfe that a community may wish to govern but cannot through the regular legislative channels. In many cases, such governance might be viewed as an unjustifiable infringement on libery. There are, however, some cases in which a taboo may be justified because of the protection it offers against a real harm. This article will explore the idea of informal social legislation through taboo, and will attempt to rescue (some) taboos from the posiion of disfavour they currently find themselves in. In the process, this article will establish criteria by which justfiable taboos may be separated frm the unjustfiable.