Ryan Schram's Anthrocyclopaedia

Anthropology presentations and learning resources

User Tools

Site Tools


bronislaw_malinowski

Differences

This shows you the differences between two versions of the page.

Link to this comparison view

Both sides previous revision Previous revision
bronislaw_malinowski [2014/07/28 18:13]
ryans [Stranded!]
bronislaw_malinowski [2014/07/28 18:16] (current)
ryans [Stranded!]
Line 5: Line 5:
 ===== Stranded! ===== ===== Stranded! =====
  
-Prior to Malinowski'​s first field research, anthropologists mostly worked on the model of researchers in natural history, and considered themselves to be pursuing similar kinds of problems. Accounts of different forms of culture and types of society were phrased, for the most part, in terms of how a particular system developed. Many people argued for a diffusion of cultural forms and social institutions. Ideas were invented in one place and then transmitted across space over time and often mixing with other ideas from elsewhere. An anthropologist'​s job was to survey many different cultures and look for evidence of lines of development or lines of diffusion. In 1914, University of Cambridge anthropologists [[W. H. R. Rivers]] and [[A. C. Haddon]] planned an expedition to the Torres Strait between Australia and New Guinea, and took with them several students of anthropology,​ including the former psychology student from Poland, Malinowski. By the time they reached Australia by boat, war had broken out in Europe, and Malinowski was, technically at least, an enemy alien in the territory of a British ally. Given the choice of internment in Australia or restricting his movement to the Australian territory of Papua in New Guinea, he fatefully chose to leave the expedition and travel to the Australian colony. There he eventually settled on the island of Kiriwina in the Trobriand Islands. With no option to survey a wide region and test Rivers'​s diffusionist theories, he then decided to learn about a culture in a different way. He lived in his own residence in the village of Omarakana, learned the language of Kiriwina, and talked with people on their own terms, rather than interviewing them from a fixed questionnaire,​ as Rivers did. As he would later write (1932 [1922]: 20-22), he wanted to record through observation the way people lived, talked and thought in the context of everyday, practical activity.+Prior to Malinowski'​s first field research, anthropologists mostly worked on the model of researchers in natural history, and considered themselves to be pursuing similar kinds of problems. Accounts of different forms of culture and types of society were phrased, for the most part, in terms of how a particular system developed. Many people argued for a diffusion of cultural forms and social institutions. Ideas were invented in one place and then transmitted across space over time and often mixing with other ideas from elsewhere. An anthropologist'​s job was to survey many different cultures and look for evidence of lines of development or lines of diffusion. ​ 
 + 
 +In 1914, University of Cambridge anthropologists [[W. H. R. Rivers]] and [[A. C. Haddon]] planned an expedition to the Torres Strait between Australia and New Guinea, and took with them several students of anthropology,​ including the former psychology student from Poland, Malinowski. By the time they reached Australia by boat, war had broken out in Europe, and Malinowski was, technically at least, an enemy alien in the territory of a British ally. Given the choice of internment in Australia or restricting his movement to the Australian territory of Papua in New Guinea, he fatefully chose to leave the expedition and travel to the Australian colony. There he eventually settled on the island of Kiriwina in the Trobriand Islands. With no option to survey a wide region and test Rivers'​s diffusionist theories, he then decided to learn about a culture in a different way. He lived in his own residence in the village of Omarakana, learned the language of Kiriwina, and talked with people on their own terms, rather than interviewing them from a fixed questionnaire,​ as Rivers did. As he would later write (1932 [1922]: 20-22), he wanted to record through observation the way people lived, talked and thought in the context of everyday, practical activity.
  
 While there is no doubt that Malinowski was a very original and inventive researcher, and that he accomplished a lot, his mythic status masks the crucial influence of Rivers, who was himself discovering the limits of expeditionary research (Song 1999). Indeed, Malinowski'​s myth was mostly due to his talent for recognizing his innovation and trumpeting it in his later writings. ​ While there is no doubt that Malinowski was a very original and inventive researcher, and that he accomplished a lot, his mythic status masks the crucial influence of Rivers, who was himself discovering the limits of expeditionary research (Song 1999). Indeed, Malinowski'​s myth was mostly due to his talent for recognizing his innovation and trumpeting it in his later writings. ​
bronislaw_malinowski.txt · Last modified: 2014/07/28 18:16 by ryans