A Scientific Theory of Culture and Other Essays

Front Cover
University of North Carolina Press, 1990 - Social Science - 228 pages
Malinowski presents in this book his definitive statement of the theory of functionalism. As the essential clue to the understanding of human behavior, primitive and civilized, he analyzes the functional principle that culture is an examination of the fundamentals of anthropology for the purpose of constructing a general system to explain the facts of culture by this principle.



Originally published 1944.



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About the author (1990)

Bronislaw Malinowski, a Polish-born British anthropologist, was a major force in transforming nineteenth-century speculative anthropology into an observation-based science of humanity. His major interest was in the study of culture as a universal phenomenon and in the development of fieldwork techniques that would both describe one culture adequately and, at the same, time make systematic cross-cultural comparisons possible. He is considered to be the founder of the functional approach in the social sciences which involves studying not just what a cultural trait appears to be, but what it actually does for the functioning of society. Although he carried out extensive fieldwork in a number of cultures, he is most famous for his research among the Trobrianders, who live on a small island off the coast of New Guinea.

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