By Bronislaw Malinowski
Bronislaw Malinowski’s pathbreaking Argonauts of the Western Pacific is straight away an in depth account of alternate within the Melanesian islands and a manifesto of a modernist anthropology. Malinowski argued that the target of which the ethnographer should not lose sight is ‘to take hold of the native’s viewpoint, his relation to lifestyles, to grasp his imaginative and prescient of his world.’ via brilliant evocations of Kula lifestyles, together with the development and launching of canoes, fishing expeditions and the position of fable and magic among the Kula humans, Malinowski brilliantly describes an inter-island procedure of trade - 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 stories of commute writers, reporters and missionaries, it's a compelling perception right into a global now mostly misplaced from view. With a brand new foreword through Adam Kuper.
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Additional resources for Argonauts of the Western Pacific (Routledge Classics)
Since you take up your abode in the compound of some neighbouring white man, trader or missionary, you have nothing to do, but to start at once on your ethnographic work. Imagine further that you are a beginner, without previous experience, with nothing to guide you and no one to help you. For the white man is temporarily absent, or else unable or unwilling to waste any of his time on you. This exactly describes my first initiation into field-work on the South coast of New Guinea. I well remember the long visits I paid to the villages during the first weeks; the feeling of hopelessness and despair after many obstinate but futile attempts had entirely failed to bring me into real touch with the natives, or supply me with any material.
Though we cannot ask a native about abstract, general rules, we can always enquire how a given case would be treated. ” for even words could not be found to express it in native, or in pidgin. But an imaginary case, or still better, a real occurrence, will stimulate a native to express his opinion and to supply plentiful information. A real case indeed will start the natives on a wave of discussion, evoke expressions of indignation, show them taking sides—all of which talk will probably contain a wealth of definite views, of 45 moral censures, as well as reveal the social mechanism set in motion by the crime committed.
M. K. Gilmour. 6 According to a useful habit of the terminology of science, I use the word Ethnography for the empirical and descriptive results of the science of Man, and the word Ethnology for speculative and comparative theories.