He exhorted his colleagues to conduct fieldwork in situusing participant observation.
Malinowski saw himself as effecting a revolution in anthropology by rejecting the evolutionary paradigm of his predecessors and introducing functionalism, whereby institutions satisfied human biological needs, as the way to understand other cultures.
His lasting legacy, however, is methodological rather than theoretical.
It was by exhorting anthropologists to give up their comfortable position on the veranda of the missionary compound or government station and to go and live and work with the people they studied that he effected his real innovation.
Living with the people he studied, getting to know them personally, participating in their activities, and conducting his research in the vernacular has since become known as participant observation.
His collection of monographs and numerous articles on the Trobriand Islanders is perhaps the most extensive ethnography of any people written to date.
His magnum opus, Argonauts of the Western Pacific, published inin which he describes the Kula ring a complex interisland exchange of arm shell bracelets and necklacesis one of the first modern ethnographies.
A prolific writer, Malinowski tackled some of the most important and controversial topics of his day: He insisted that a proper understanding of culture required viewing these various aspects in context. Inwhile attending anthropological meetings in Australia, World War I broke out and, although technically an enemy alien and under some restrictions, he received financial assistance from the Australian government to conduct research among the people of Mailu, a small island off the southeast coast of New Guinea.
Through this early work he realized his inability to speak their language and failure to live among them limited his understanding of their culture, and so, in June he made a new beginning in the Trobriand Islands off the northeast coast of New Guinea. During an eighteenth-month hiatus in Australia, he met his future wife, Elsie Masson.
Malinowski left the field in After lecturing in ethnology at the LSE between and he was appointed to a readership inand in to the Chair of Social Anthropology, which he held until In he conducted research on change in cultures under colonialism and visited several of his students in South and East Africa.
When Germany invaded Poland inhe was advised by the director of the LSE to stay in the United States, continuing as a lecturer and conducting fieldwork in Oaxaca, Mexico.
He had accepted a permanent post at Yale for the fall ofwhen he died suddenly of a heart attack, on 16 May The best biography is Youngalthough it ends in A more complete yet far less detailed biography is Urry Murdock is a good obituary by a contemporary.
Bibliographies can be found in Murdock ; Firth ; and Ellen, et al. Malinowski between two worlds: The Polish roots of an anthropological tradition. The papers focus on the Polish roots of his personal and intellectual development and his impact on modern anthropology. Routledge and Kegan Paul.
Contains an extensive bibliography, including works published posthumously and about Malinowski. Essential for those interested in Malinowski. In Anthropology and anthropologists: The modern British school.
By Adam Kuper, 1— Contains a bibliography of his writings.Participant Observation and Grand Theory Bronislaw Malinowski, with his ground-breaking field work of the Trobriand Islander community in the beginning of the 20th century still today counts as a pioneer, if not the founder of the British Social Anthropology.
In his famous book Argonauts of the Western Pacific. Through participant-observation, Malinowski () offered a valuable tool with which to uncover these insights and understandings, the ethnographer. The ethnographer as research tool has become the basis of much modern anthropological research.
Malinowski. In Anthropology and anthropologists: The modern British school. 3d ed. By Adam Kuper, 1– London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. E-mail Citation» The first chapter of this revised third edition is an accessible introduction to Malinowski’s role in the development of .
This method, participant observation, As others have mentioned, anthropologists commonly consider Malinowski a founding father of modern social anthropology in general and the anthropological fieldwork in particular.
Rightly so, I would add. However, he was far from the first to conduct or write about anthropological fieldwork. Michael W. Young explores the personal crisis plaguing the Polish-born anthropologist at the end of his first major stint of ethnographic immersion in the Trobriand Islands, a period of self-doubt glimpsed through entries in his diary – the most infamous, most nakedly .
Participant-observation, as Malinowski () conceptualized it, was a process through which the ethnographer entrenched themselves in the daily life and living .