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Argonauts of the Western Pacific

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  956 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
The founding document of economic anthropology! Bronislaw Malinowski, one of the all-time great anthropologists of the world, had a talent for bringing together in single comprehension the warm reality of human living with the cool abstractions of science. His pages have become an almost indispensable link between the knowing of exotic and remote people with theoretical kn ...more
Paperback, 527 pages
Published March 1st 1984 by Waveland Press (first published April 21st 1961)
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Jenny (Reading Envy)
This was a cornerstone of my Readings in Ethnography course in graduate school. Basically a classic of anthropology that also had an impact on the fields of folklore and ethnomusicology. And happens to be set in islands off the coast of but belonging to Papua New Guinea!
HyL
Mar 15, 2013 rated it liked it
The rhetorical style of the time Malinowski was writing makes this classic a tough read today, but for the Oceanist, or anyone interested in economic exchange, this is a must-read. Accompany it with Reo Fortune's Sorcerers of Dobu, and follow it up with Annette Weiner's Women of Value, Men of Renown, and Susanna Kuehling's Dobu.
Lada Fleur
Aug 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
It is a really very good book for anyone who resarch into the meaning of stories, fairy tales and myths, and their capacity to strike the mind and remain stuck. About customs linked to these words. Gestures and words, sacrifices whose meanings hidden in rituals, aslibations
Isabel
Aug 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Malinowski constituye un ejemplo de cómo hacer etnografía, es un manual sin duda de cómo realizar esta labor. Lo recomiendo para cualquier antropólogo.
Subarashi
Oct 29, 2007 rated it really liked it
i liked this much more than i intended to. there's more at work here than some nasty imperialist vouyerisum. surprisingly, malinowski's project seems to be an earnest reflection on the (seemingly universal) economic presumptions undergirding his own value system. being careful not to name it socialism, malinowksi delicately charts a unique form of social and economic organization that defies standard definition. writing on the brink of world war, you see a man far away from home, less interested ...more
funk bonds
Jul 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
the KULA!
Czarny Pies
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Those highly interested in Kula exchange.
Argonauts of the Western Pacific is an anthrological monograph on Kula exchange, a form of ritual gift giving that was practiced in the Trobriand Islands off Eastern New Guinea at the time when Bronislaw Malinowski conducted his field work in the location between 1914 and 1920. I consider the work to be brilliant. However, you should understand that I have never taken even one undergraduate course in Anthropology and had read only one other anthropological or ethnographic monograph prior to read ...more
Leah
Apr 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
One of the first books (since starting goodreads) that I didn't finish not because I didn't like it, I just could get my head around it as the mercury rose. I wish I could say I was committed enough to read anthropological theory in hot weather, but by halfway through, I couldn't concentrate enough to know what was going on. So, shelved until fall!
Marcel
Jul 11, 2007 rated it really liked it
Weirdly dehistoricized! Malinowski keeps referring to how things were done "in olden days," and seems to attribute many of the changes to the white man's influence–pearling more profitable than fishing, decreased intertribal violence. But there's no real effort to interrogate the colonialist enterprise or its operations; mostly, it's just a bummer that things ain't like they used to be.
Anna Dal Pont
Dec 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: uni
3.5

Revolutionary for its time, in the way it regarded the importance of the work "on the field" as well as the foundamental concept of laying down one's methods of research. It is in many ways outdated now, but can still definitely give several interesting sparks for reflection.
Theresa Malloy
Feb 10, 2016 rated it liked it
We read excerpts of this in the ethnography classes then read the diary. If you delve into Malinowski, make sure you take a look at his personal take on the people he observed. Another man who shocked the world by being human and not so objective.
Thom Dunn
First published 1922. A great file-cabinet of a book deserving of an honored place among the classic anthropology texts.
Jen
Apr 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Speaking of leading critical minds to water...
you can cry colonialism all you want. I still enjoy this immensly.
C.
Jun 01, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: anthropology
Lovely read ~ fascinating descriptions of the Kula district and trading customs/languages, its people and diversity.
Risa
Jun 10, 2009 rated it liked it
Argonauts of the Western Pacific by Bronislaw Malinowski (1984)
Sofia
Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was ok
made the mistake of reading his diary. now his work can't get past the thing I've learn about him...
Eli Jacobs
Jun 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
ethnography is very rich and the introduction is an important description of the way ethnography was (attempted to be) done for much of the twentieth century.
Fabio Bertino
Aug 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: antropologia
Non so come ho fatto a dimenticare di aggiungere questo libro! "Superato" per molti aspetti ma imprescindibile nella storia dell'antropologia!
Michael Mena
Jul 25, 2015 rated it did not like it
Basically an anthro classic I'm reading for grad school. A crucial book, but it is slow and boring. A product of its age.
Chris Gager
Oct 09, 2012 rated it liked it
I must have read some Malinowski when I was in college and an Anthro major. This one rings a bell but I doubt that I read it. Maybe some day.
Emily
Jul 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ethnographies
Never *technically* finished it, but man was it ever inspiring.
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Bronisław Kasper Malinowski (IPA: [ˌmaliˈnɔfski]; April 7, 1884 – May 16, 1942) was a Polish anthropologist widely considered to be one of the most important anthropologists of the twentieth century because of his pioneering work on ethnographic fieldwork, with which he also gave a major contribution to the study of Melanesia, and the study of reciprocity.
More about Bronisław Malinowski...

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“Again, they have no idea of what could be called the evolution of the world or the evolution of society; that is, they do not look back towards a series of successive changes, which happened in nature or in humanity, as we do. We, in our religious and scientific outlook alike, know that earth ages and that humanity ages, and we think of both in these terms; for them, both are eternally the same, eternally youthful.” 2 likes
“It is therefore not going beyond what is fully granted by facts, to maintain that a general loss of interest in life, of the joie de vivre, the cutting of all the bonds of intense interest, which bind members of a human community to existence, will result in their giving up the desire to live altogether, and that therefore they will fall an easy prey to any disease, as well as fail to multiply.” 0 likes
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