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B. Malinowski

Malinowski's theory made functional analysis more conducive to the 20th century. He gave notion of system levels and the concept of different and multiple system needs at each level. There are three systems of needs, social structure are originated in biological needs and derived from social structures, integrative needs of the society.

Biological Needs

Primary needs

Necessitate action for fulfillment which necessitates collective organization

Social Structural Needs

Create institutions for satisfaction of biological need
These institutions have own need to be met for society to survive.
Institutions are economic, educational, political organization.

Symbolic Needs

Provide information necessary to adjust to environment.
To provide a sense of control over destiny
To provide communal rhythm

Magic Religion and Science

Malinowaski distinguished between the three


Instrumental relieves anxiety about the uncontrollable elements out of traditional mythology, taboos etc conducted by magician good /bad


Utilitarian, sustains the social structure
Distinction between sacred and profane
Common to all moralistic


Rational questions existing social structure uses and norms.
No mythology, stress or crises
Value neutral and objective

Primitive Economy

Malinowski tries to highlight two important aspects: the social and economic activities of primitive and the importance of the economic aspect on the cultural type of people. Kula a specific system of trade is carried among the islands of a given place. The trade is controlled by traditional norms and regulations.

Important Books:

  • Agronauts of the western pacific
  • Crime and customs
  • Sex and repression in savage society
  • Coral gardens and their magic
  • A scientific theory of culture
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