Prohibitions and Taboos

Taboos are a proscribed set of actions, events, and phenomena that society deems unacceptable. These sorts of actions, such as incest, are unanimously acknowledged and avoided because they signal a fundamental threat to relationships, as well as the possibility of violence. 

Sacrificial Crisis

In mimetic theory, taboos and prohibitions play a reconciling and pacifying role in the escalation of mimetic desire. Far from being empty superstitions, taboos, like forewarnings, are instituted by society to prevent mimetic rivalries from reaching the highest levels of violence, especially the sacrificial crisis


Because of their close association with the form Prohibited of violence they are meant to prevent, taboos often have a sinister connotation. They are feared as much as they are avoided. Rene Girard believed that the loss of taboos and prohibitions from societies could lead to unfortunate manifestations of violence.