Bronislaw Malinowski - a Pioneer in Social Anthropology
Bronisław Malinowski was a pioneer in the field of social anthropology, the study of culture and society. He was born in Krakńw in 1884 into an upper middle class family. His father was a professor of literature and linguist at the
From 1915-18 Malinowski conducted a groundbreaking field study of the Trobriand Islanders of New Guinea in the southwestern Pacific and published his findings in a series of books and papers. He founded the school of thought known as Functionalism, that all aspects of a society work together to create a whole. Among Malinowski’s innovations were the ideas that an anthropologist must spend a long time and remain in close contact with the people he is studying, and that he must use their language. He was fluent in several European and tribal languages.
Malinowski’s theories regarding magic, religion, kinship and sex among primitive peoples drew wide attention and by the early 1920s he was the world’s most famous anthropologist. He also did field work in Central Africa and
Strangely enough, Malinowski’s work did not gain much attention in
Malinowski himself visited
In letters to his wife he sometimes nostalgically recalled the places and activities from his youth. While considering himself a citizen of the world, he once wrote, “I am a Western Slav with Teutonic culture. I am a Polish national.” He even once thought about joining Haller’s Army and he held a Polish passport until he became a British citizen in 1931. Polish immigrants and students were always welcome in his
In late 1938 Malinowski came to