Taboo – an establishment consisting in the strict prohibition of actions with certain things, people, phenomena. Forbidden and dangerous, from restrictions, is the unordered contact between the sacred and every day (for example, the prohibition of touching the leader). Along with the sacred taboo also unclean (for example, a corpse, menstrual blood).
According to W. Wundt, the taboo is the most ancient unwritten moral code of humanity. According to Freud, “taboo is older than gods.” For E.Durkheim, the distinction between the secular (profane) and the sacred is the cornerstone of religion, produces group solidarity. A. Radcliffe-Brown argued that the taboo-oriented behavior expresses and reinforces the feelings and values that are important for the maintenance of society. According to Freud, the phenomena accompanying taboos (unmotivated prohibitions, internal compulsion in their performance, ability to transfer to other people, the presence of ceremonies and rituals) are similar to the symptoms of obsessional neurosis. Therefore can be interpreted as a manifestation of the ambivalence of feelings towards the sacred (or unclean ) a person or an object.
According to M. Douglas, the taboo focuses on what is ambiguous regarding categories of culture. Taboo fixes these categories, sanctifying and defining the boundaries between them. Drawing attention to the phenomena of ritual violation of these boundaries, she concludes that the taboos in social life testify to the possibility for those who carry out this violation to serve as intermediaries between social and other realities. In its specific expressions in primitive cultures, the taboo is closely associated with totemism. This concerns first of all the taboo of incest, expressed in exogamy, and the taboo on the murder of a totemic animal.