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Bronislaw Malinowski's Impact on Anthropology

Bronislaw Malinowski holds very important position in Anthropology. His interests in methodological and philosophical issues are referred in different forums. The most profound impact of his idea on his students is recorded in Man and Culture edited by his student Raymond Firth. The essays by Malinowski's former students and colleagues are a clear testimony of his influence on their works.

His efforts to develop field techniques for carrying out intensive sociological studies of particular societies have been recognized by Evans Prichard and Firth. Ethnography written from 1929 to 1940 reflects the liberal use of Malinowski's functional approach. His practice of documenting generalizations has also been emulated by his successors. For example Firth's We the Tikopia and Schapera's Married life in an African Tribe explain the institution of family in terms of its function.

The functions of procreation and socialization have been related to other aspects of social life. Similarly Richards have described the function of providing sustenance in explaining the economic activities of the Bemba in Northern Rhodesia.

These books give long descriptions in a truly Malinowskian mould. They lack a sense of social organization and its principles. Descriptions of concrete ground realities are expected some how to spell out these principles. They present a mix up between analysis and description