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Eating People is Wrong: Famine’s Darkest Secret?

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  • Cormac Ó Gráda

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Cormac Ó Gráda, 2013. "Eating People is Wrong: Famine’s Darkest Secret?," Working Papers 201302, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:201302
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/4267
    File Function: First version, 2013
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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 603-630, September.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Cannibalism in Ireland
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2013-04-16 19:37:00

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    Keywords

    Famine; Cannibalism;

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