Taboo violation as an exertion of dominance
This paper argues that taboo language violation might be considered a symbolic exertion of dominance equivalent to physical acts of taboo breaking. The author explores taboo subjects which might be used to exert dominance, and argues that non-verbal dominance acts are to some point equivalent to verbal acts of this kind. The studies examine body-related taboo subjects including space limitation, inviolability of the body, rules of etiquette, sexuality and the right to intimacy, child behaviours and the right to dignity, and a feeling of uncleanliness. The studies focus on agonistic situations since they most often lead to taboo violation acts. Non-agonistic behaviours connected with fixed roles, such as in doctor-patient relationship, might eliminate taboo to the effect that is not violated. The author considers two situations. In the first case, the difference of status between the taboo breaker and the others is so significant that the person seems to act disregarding of taboo. In the second case, when dominance rules are either not clear or being questioned, the taboo breaker demonstrates power and if it fails, he decides to attack. The conventionality of taboo language violation and different sets of power arguments might also be observed. Various groups resolve to various taboo breaking methods according to their value systems. Taboo breaker is perceived as the one who can neglect social rules, act freely and who cannot be suppressed, which leads to other people’s submissive behaviours.