J. D. Unwin

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Joseph Daniel Unwin MC (1895–1936) was an English ethnologist and social anthropologist at Oxford University and Cambridge University.

J. D. Unwin
J. D. Unwin c1917, Captain, Northamptonshire Regiment

Contributions to anthropology[edit]

In Sex and Culture (1934), Unwin studied 80 primitive tribes and 6 known civilizations through 5,000 years of history and claimed there was a positive correlation between the cultural achievement of a people and the sexual restraint they observe.[1] Aldous Huxley described Sex and Culture as "a work of the highest importance".[2]

According to Unwin, after a nation becomes prosperous it becomes increasingly liberal with regard to sexual morality and as a result loses its cohesion, its impetus and its purpose. The effect, says the author, is irrevocable.[3] Unwin also claimed that legal equality between women and men was a necessary prerequisite to absolute monogamy.[4]


  • Sexual Regulations and Human Behaviour. London: Williams & Norgate ltd., 1933.
  • Sex and Culture. London: Oxford University Press, 1934.
  • The Scandal of Imprisonment for Debt. London: Simpkin Marshall Limited, 1935.
  • Sexual Regulations and Cultural Behaviour. London: Oxford University Press, 1935.
  • Sex Compatibility in Marriage. New York: Rensselaer, 1939.
  • Hopousia: Or, The Sexual and Economic Foundations of a New Society, with an introduction by Aldous Huxley. New York: Oskar Piest, 1940.
    • Our Economic Problems and Their Solution (An Extract from "Hopousia.") London: George Allen & Unwin, Ltd., 1944.

Selected articles[edit]

  • "Monogamy as a Condition of Social Energy,” The Hibbert Journal, Vol. XXV, 1927.
  • "The Classificatory System of Relationship," Man, Vol. XXIX, Sep., 1929.
  • "Kinship," Man, Vol. XXX, Apr., 1930.
  • "Reply to Dr. Morant's 'Cultural Anthropology and Statistics'," Man, Vol. XXXV, Mar., 1935.


  • Dark Rapture: The Sex-life of the African Negro, with an Introduction by J. D. Unwin. New York: Walden Publication, 1939.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Any human society is free to choose either to display great energy or to enjoy sexual freedom; the evidence is that it cannot do both for more than one generation." Unwin, J. D. (1934) Sex and Culture. London: Oxford University Press, p. 412.
  2. ^ Huxley, Aldous (1946). "Ethics". Ends and Means. London: Chatto & Windus. pp. 311–312.
  3. ^ Unwin, J. D. (1927). "Monogamy as a Condition of Social Energy,” The Hibbert Journal, Vol. XXV, p. 662.
  4. ^ Unwin, J. D. Sex and culture, page 431-432.

Further reading[edit]

  • Firth, Raymond (1936). "Sex and Culture," Africa, Vol. 9, No. 1, pp. 126–129.
  • Morant, G. M. (1935). "Cultural Anthropology and Statistics; A One-Sided Review of 'Sex and Culture'," Man, Vol. 35, pp. 34–39.
  • Yancey, Philip (December 12, 1994). "The Lost Sex Study". Christianity Today. Retrieved September 23, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External links[edit]