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Bronisław Malinowski - Wikipedia
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Published by Home Farm Books New Paperback Quantity Available: Published by Read Books It was widely regarded as a masterpiece, and Malinowski became one of the best-known anthropologists in the world. For the next two decades, he would establish the London School of Economics as Europe's main centre of anthropology. He became a British citizen in Malinowski taught intermittently in the United States. He took up a position at Yale University , where he remained until his death.
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Malinowski died on 16 May , aged 58, of a heart attack while preparing to conduct summer fieldwork in Oaxaca , Mexico. Malinowski is often considered one of anthropology's most skilled ethnographers, especially because of the highly methodical and well theorised approach to the study of social systems. He is often referred to as the first researcher to bring anthropology "off the verandah" a phrase that is also the name of a documentary about his work ,  that is, experiencing the everyday life of his subjects along with them.
He stated that the goal of the anthropologist, or ethnographer, is "to grasp the native's point of view, his relation to life, to realize his vision of his world" Argonauts of the Western Pacific, Dutton edition, p. However, in reference to the Kula ring , Malinowski also stated, in the same edition, pp. Yet it must be remembered that what appears to us an extensive, complicated, and yet well ordered institution is the outcome of so many doings and pursuits, carried on by savages, who have no laws or aims or charters definitely laid down.
They have no knowledge of the total outline of any of their social structure. They know their own motives, know the purpose of individual actions and the rules which apply to them, but how, out of these, the whole collective institution shapes, this is beyond their mental range.
Not even the most intelligent native has any clear idea of the Kula as a big, organised social construction, still less of its sociological function and implications The integration of all the details observed, the achievement of a sociological synthesis of all the various, relevant symptoms, is the task of the Ethnographer In these two passages, Malinowski anticipated the distinction between description and analysis, and between the views of actors and analysts.
This distinction continues to inform anthropological method and theory. His study of the Kula ring was also vital to the development of an anthropological theory of reciprocity , and his material from the Trobriands was extensively discussed in Marcel Mauss 's seminal essay The Gift. Malinowski originated the school of social anthropology known as functionalism. In contrast to Radcliffe-Brown 's structural functionalism , Malinowski argued that culture functioned to meet the needs of individuals rather than society as a whole.
He reasoned that when the needs of individuals, who comprise society, are met, then the needs of society are met.
To Malinowski, the feelings of people and their motives were crucial knowledge to understand the way their society functioned:. Besides the firm outline of tribal constitution and crystallized cultural items which form the skeleton, besides the data of daily life and ordinary behavior, which are, so to speak, its flesh and blood, there is still to be recorded the spirit—the natives' views and opinions and utterances.
Apart from fieldwork, Malinowski also challenged the claim to universality of Freud 's theory of the Oedipus complex.
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He initiated a cross-cultural approach in Sex and Repression in Savage Society where he demonstrated that specific psychological complexes are not universal. Malinowski likewise influenced the course of African history, serving as an academic mentor to Jomo Kenyatta , the father and first president of modern-day Kenya. Malinowski also wrote the introduction to Facing Mount Kenya , Kenyatta's ethnographic study of the Gikuyu tribe. The Kulurami tribe in Africa also caught his attention.
In a brief passage in his book Broca's Brain , the late science popularizer Carl Sagan criticized Malinowski for thinking that "he had discovered a people in the Trobriand Islands who had not worked out the connection between sexual intercourse and childbirth", arguing that it was more likely that the islanders were simply making fun of Malinowski. The Malinowski Memorial Lecture , an annual anthropology lecture series at London School of Economics , is named after him. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Anthropologist and ethnographer.
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New Haven, Connecticut , U. Outline History. Archaeological Biological Cultural Linguistic Social. Social Cultural. Research framework. Key concepts. Key theories. Actor—network theory Alliance theory Cross-cultural studies Cultural materialism Culture theory Diffusionism Feminism Historical particularism Boasian anthropology Functionalism Interpretive Performance studies Political economy Practice theory Structuralism Post-structuralism Systems theory.
Anthropologists by nationality Anthropology by year Bibliography Journals List of indigenous peoples Organizations. American Anthropologist. Bronislaw Kasper Malinowski. Yale University Press.