Issue 2/2024

Unmasking the Unspoken: Beyond the Edges of Taboos

At the heart of human societies lies a set of unspoken but deeply ingrained prohibitions known as taboos, which typically touch upon culturally, socially, or morally sensitive subjects. Deriving from the Polynesian term tapua, meaning consecrated or forbidden, taboo acts as an implicit guideline dictating what is acceptable or forbidden within a given community. Taboos take various dimensions, from explicit social rules to implicit cultural norms, shaping individual behaviour, language usage, and interpersonal interactions. They often reflect the values and power dynamics within a community, defining the boundaries of acceptable behaviour and the consequences for violations.

The investigation of taboos spans disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, psychology, linguistics, literature – as is the case here – and more. The enduring power of exploring taboos stems from their ability to both fascinate and provoke; therefore, studying taboos sheds light on how societies define their moral codes, cross cultural boundaries, and negotiate the tensions between tradition and change.

Claude Lévi-Strauss proposed that taboo is a specific type of prohibition used to understand the binary oppositions and symbolic structures embedded in various societies. Such a dual nature of taboo (prohibitions vs. value) restricts and condemns specific behaviours, objects, and subjects, often associated with death, sexuality, and other deeply personal or potentially disturbing aspects of human existence. However, taboos also function to preserve cultural values, foster social cohesion, and protect individuals from harm. In this light, taboos are seen as thresholds that maintain order and prevent chaos that could threaten social cohesion.


We invite submissions critically engaging with, but not limited to, the following areas:

  • The representation of taboo subjects in literature and media
  • Cultural perspectives on taboos in global literature
  • Taboo and the transgression of genre boundaries
  • Deconstructing taboos through literary and cultural discourses
  • Cross-cultural challenges in translating taboo language
  • Narrative strategies and the unspeakable in literature
  • Linguistic evasion and taboo
  • Taboo in political discourse, power dynamics, and social norms
  • The impact of taboo on literary reception and censorship




Submission guidelines

Submission deadline: 15 June 2024.

The journal publication is scheduled for December 2024.

All submissions will undergo a double-blind peer-review process to ensure high academic standards.

We kindly request that all contributions submitted adhere to the stylesheet norms.