Bronislaw Kasper Malinowski

Gunter Senft

Table of contents

“…he had an artist’s power to create with great integrative capacity a world of his own … and he had the true scientist’s intuitive discrimination between relevant and adventitious fundamental and secondary issues”, this kind epitaph, which Malinowski formulated in his obituary for Sir James George Frazer a year before he himself died, could equally apply to Malinowski, as Raymond Firth (1981: 137) so rightly emphasized in one of his articles on his teacher and colleague. bronislaw Malinowski, one of the most important anthropologists of the 20th century, is generally recognized as one of the founders of social anthropology, transforming 19th century speculative anthropology into a field-oriented science that is based on empirical research. Malinowski is principally associated with his field research of the Mailu and especially of the Trobriand Islanders in what is now Papua New Guinea, and his masterpieces on Trobriand ethnography continue “to enthrall each generation of anthropologists through its intensity, rich detail, and penetrating revelations” (Weiner 1987: xiv).

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