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a._r._radcliffe-brown

A. R. Radcliffe-Brown

Alfred Reginald Radcliffe-Brown is the person most responsible for bringing Emile Durkheim’s ideas into British social anthropology, although with his own particular twist. He wanted to establish anthropology as a positive science in Durkheim's sense, and identify the mechanisms by which relatively small-scale societies based on kinship came together to form an integrated, functional whole, and in particular one with a stable, if not unchanging, social structure. One of his key ideas is that kinship groups and other social structures were akin to law in rural, stateless societies like Tiv, Maasai and Luo communities, and that the “rules and roles” of social statuses in these systems functioned to maintain and perpetuate order, just like a legal system. Hence the school of anthropology most associated with him is called “structural functionalism” in contrast to the “functionalism” of his contemporary, Bronislaw Malinowski.

a._r._radcliffe-brown.txt · Last modified: 2020/01/25 15:28 (external edit)