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Eating People is Wrong-Famine’s Darkest Secret?

  • Cormac Ó Gráda

    (University College Dublin)

Cannibalism is one of our darkest secrets and taboos. It is the ultimate measure of the resilience or otherwise of civilizational processes to extreme conditions. How common was cannibalism in times of famine in the past? Both the nature of the evidence for famine cannibalism and the silences about it challenge the empirical historian to the limit. After a review of the global historiography, this paper attempts to assess the evidence for cannibalism during Ireland’s many famines, culminating in the Great Irish Famine of the 1840s.

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File URL: http://www.ucd.ie/t4cms/WP13_02.pdf
File Function: First version, 2013
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Paper provided by School Of Economics, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 201302.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: 21 Mar 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:201302
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Web page: http://www.ucd.ie/economics

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  1. Ellman, Michael, 2000. "The 1947 Soviet Famine and the Entitlement Approach to Famines," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(5), pages 603-30, September.
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