By Bronislaw Malinowski
Bronislaw Malinowski’s pathbreaking Argonauts of the Western Pacific is instantaneously an in depth account of trade within the Melanesian islands and a manifesto of a modernist anthropology. Malinowski argued that the target of which the ethnographer shouldn't ever lose sight is ‘to grab the native’s viewpoint, his relation to existence, to grasp his imaginative and prescient of his world.’ via brilliant evocations of Kula existence, together with the development and launching of canoes, fishing expeditions and the function of fable and magic among the Kula humans, Malinowski brilliantly describes an inter-island process of alternate - from presents from father to son to swapping fish for yams - round which a whole group revolves. A vintage of anthropology that did a lot to set up the primacy of painstaking fieldwork over the sooner anecdotal experiences of shuttle writers, newshounds and missionaries, it's a compelling perception right into a global now mostly misplaced from view. With a brand new foreword by way of Adam Kuper.
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Extra info for Argonauts of the Western Pacific (Routledge Classics)
In this volume, the description is given of a big institution connected with ever so many associated activities, and presenting many aspects. To anyone who reflects on the subject, it will be clear that the information about a phenomenon of such high complexity and of so many ramifications, could not be obtained with any degree of exactitude and completeness, without a constant interplay of constructive attempts and empirical checking. In fact, I have written up an outline of the Kula institution at least half a dozen times while in the field and in the intervals between my expeditions.
Australia, 1915; Chapter IV. 4, pp. 612 to 629. 3 Op. cit. Chapter XL. 4 On this point of method again, we are indebted to the Cambridge School of Anthropology for having introduced the really scientific way of dealing with the question. More especially in the writings of Haddon, Rivers and Seligman, the distinction between inference and observation is always clearly drawn, and we can visualise with perfect precision the conditions under which the work was done. 5 I may note at once that there were a few delightful exceptions to that, to mention only my friends Billy Hancock in the Trobriands; M.
Here were men who had lived for years in the place with constant opportunities of observing the natives and communicating with them, and who yet hardly knew one thing about them really well. How could I therefore in a few months or a year, hope to overtake and go beyond them? Moreover, the manner in which my white informants spoke about the natives and put their views was, naturally, that of untrained minds, unaccustomed to formulate their thoughts with any degree of consistency and precision. And they were for the most part, naturally enough, full of the biassed and pre-judged opinions inevitable in the average practical man, whether administrator, missionary, or trader, yet so strongly repulsive to a mind striving after the objective, scientific view of things.
Argonauts of the Western Pacific (Routledge Classics) by Bronislaw Malinowski