Incest, the Duggars and public policy

TLC has pulled its hit series, “19 Kids and Counting,” after one of the show’s stars, Josh Duggar, admitted to molesting several young girls, including his sisters, when he was a teenager. While news of the development involving the conservative Christian family shocked many, the issue of incest in families occurs in many cases but is often not discussed because it’s an uncomfortable topic. Lina Svedin, acting director of the U’s Master of Public Administration and Master of Public Policy programs, is currently working on a book related to incest and how social taboos regulate behavior. Svedin’s research focuses on incest from a protracted social problem perspective and addresses how taboos as a way to regulate social behaviors work poorly. Her work examines how when such taboos are carried into the policy sphere, they end up creating more damage than good in terms of combatting the problem. She is available to talk about broader issues involving incest and policymaking in the wake of the Duggar case, which has cast a spotlight on a difficult subject.
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