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Bronislaw Malinowski's Sociologist Theories - Book Report/Review Example

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These methods clearly struck a new standard in this fieldwork, as it allowed new perspectives into a culture that was being investigated. (Online Accessed 12/08/06) In reference to cultural anthropology, such factors as ethnicity, rituals, kinship, and particularly functionalism play a significant role. Malinowski's collection of theories demonstrates a new ground breaking foundation of studies that molded from such cultural factors. Through a detailed analysis of his works, specifically, Argonauts of the Western Pacific (1922), A Scientific Theory of Culture (1941), and Magic, Science and Religion and Other Essays (1948), a specific intake of groundbreaking studies relying on roots of functionalism and other cultural factors will be thoroughly examined with specific examples.
and other folklore. In Argonauts of the Western Pacific, he claims: "Living in the village with no other business, but to follow native life, one sees the customs, ceremonies and transactions over and over again, one has examples of their beliefs as they are actually lived through, and the full body and blood of actual native life fills out soon the skeleton of abstract constructions". (Malinowski, Argonauts of the Western Pacific, 18) His claims about his 'participant observation' approach specifically allows him to become deeply in tuned with the natives, as his surroundings give him no choice but to be emerged into their will of life. In folklore studies, there is a view that every folklore item must have a specific function. The ideas here falls closely with Bronislaw's position that everything in "human life must have a function". (Glazer, Online Access 12/08/06) Through fieldwork of this type, Malinowski illustrates that the ethnographer has a visual stance, which adds more to the bare outlook of his tribal analysis, as he claims: "He is able in each case to state whether an act is public or private; how a public assembly behaves, and what it looks like; he can judge whether an event is ordinary or an exciting and singular one; whether natives bring to it a great deal of sincere and earnest spirit, or perform it in fun; whether they do it in a perfunctory manner, or with zeal and deliberation". (Malinowski, Argonauts of the Western Pacific, 18) The focus on psychobiological human entity is one level of functionalism that Malinowski represents well. In his book, A Scientific Theory of Culture, he claims that "we have to base our theory of culture on the fact that all human beings belong to an animal species. Man as an organism must exist under conditions which not only secure survival, but also allow of healthy and normal metabolism. No culture can continue if the group is not replenished
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continually and normally." (Malinowski, A Scientific Theory of Culture, 75) Clearly, Malinowski is demonstrating the idea of functionalism as basic needs of an individual. These are the biological approaches that Malinowski finds crucial to the function of a strong and vital culture. For Malinowski, functionalism is a transformation of the seven needs of the individual, such as ...Show more
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Summary

Bronislaw Malinowski (1884-1942) was one of the most important figures in the development of modern social anthropology. Malinowski traveled to the Trobriand Islands in 1915 to 1916, as his quest was to create a revolutionary style of modern principles upon ethnographic fieldwork…
Bronislaw Malinowskis Sociologist Theories
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