Malinowski, Bronislaw, 1884-1942

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Bronislaw Malinowski was educated in Poland, Germany, and England. From 1914-1918, he conducted field work in New Guinea, Australia, and Melanesia. Malinowski taught at the London School of Economics and Political Science from 1921-1942.

From the description of Bronislaw Malinowski papers, 1869-1946 (inclusive), 1914-1939 (bulk). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 145078358

From the description of Bronislaw Malinowski papers, 1869-1946 (inclusive), 1914-1939 (bulk). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702197020

Bronislaw Malinowski was educated in Poland, Germany, and England. From 1914-1918, he conducted field work in New Guinea, Australia, and Melanesia. Malinowski taught at the London School of Economics and Political Science from 1921-1942.

Bronislaw Kasper Malinowski was born in Cracow, Poland on April 7, 1884. Educated in that city, he received his Ph. D. in physics and mathematics from University of Cracow in 1908. Reasons of health forced Malinowski to discontinue his studies for a time. It was during this period, according to Raymond Firth, that Malinowski read Frazer's The Golden Bough, which aroused his interest in ethnology and anthropology.

Malinowski studied at Leipzip Univerisity before coming to England in 1910. His interests led him to the London School of Economics, where he studied under E. A. Westermarck, Graham Wallas, and L. T. Hobhouse. He was formally admitted as a candidate for the Degree of Doctor of Science in anthropology under the supervision of C. G. Seligman.

With Seligman's help, Malinowski acquired the scholarship and grants necessary for his first expedition in the field. Shortly before the outbreak of war in 1914, Malinowski began the Robert Mond Anthropological Expedition to British New Guinea and Northwestern Melanesia. Expecting to stay not more than eighteen months, Malinowski spent four years in the region. The war delayed his return to England and complicated his stay, since Malinowski was still an Austrian subject. The Australian authorities did, however, permit him to travel about the territories for scientific purposes.

Malinowski made three expeditions to the field, the first being a stay of more than six months among the Mailu of New Guinea (1914-1915). On the basis of his work on the Mailu and two earlier monographs on Australian aborigines, Malinowski received a D.Sc. degree from the London School of Economics in 1916. After the Mailu, he concentrated his research on the natives of the Trobriand Islands, whom he studied in the course of two one-year expeditions (May, 1915-May, 1916; October, 1917-October, 1918).

In the fall of 1918, Malinowski returned from the field to Melbourne, Australia. The following year he married Elsie R. Masson, daughter of Sir David O. Masson, professor of chemistry at Melbourne University. (The Malinowski's had three daughters, Józefa, Wanda, and Helena. Elsie Malinowski died in 1935 after a long illness. Several years after her death, Malinowski married Valetta Swann, and artist.)

Malinowski returned to Europe in 1920, and resumed his post as a part-time lecturer at the London School of Economics. He was named a lecturer (1922), a reader (1924), and in 1927 became the first professor of social anthropology in the London School of Economics. He was professor at that institution for most of the remaining years of his life and acquired British citizenship.

Malinowski became known as the founder of the functional school of anthropology, which sought an integrated, rather than piecemeal, view of institutions and individual relationships within a society. Opposed to isolated descriptions of picturesque events of the strict categorization of a society into separate and distinct parts, the functional approach attempted to show how all the elements of culture--customs, beliefs, economic practices, family organization, and individual needs--were interrelated and interdependent.

Another of Malinowski's contributions to anthropology was his high standard of fieldwork technique, which included rigorous documentation and analysis, as well as complete mastery of the language of the people under study. A gifted teacher, he helped train and develop a corps of distinguished anthropologists, among them Raymond Firth, Camilla Wedgewood, I. Schapera, Hortense Powdermaker, E. E. Evans-Pritchard, Audrey Richards, Ian Hogbin, and Gordon Brown.

Malinowski actively encouraged the application of anthropological knowledge to the solution of practical problems. Working with the Board of Study for the Preparation of Missionaries, he sought to impress upon prospective and experienced missionaries an anthropologist's perspective of the problems they would encounter. Malinowski worked to enlarge the role of anthropological studies in the training of colonial administrators. In this way, he hoped to bring about more widespread application of anthropological insights to the problems of native administrations in Africa and Asia.

During his years at the London School of Economics, Malinowski became a member of many learned societies, among them the Royal Anthropological Institute, the Polish Academy of Sciences, the Royal Academy of Sciences of the Netherlands, and the Royal Society of New Zealand. He was also a correspondent of the Italian Committee for the Study of Population Problems.

Conferences and lectures took Malinowski to Southern and Eastern Africa in 1934 and to the Oslo Institute for the Comparative Study of Cultures in 1936. He visited the United States in 1926, 1933, and in 1936 for the Harvard Tercentenary, where he received and Honorary D.Sc. degree. On sabbatical leave, Malinowski again came to the United States in the fall of 1938 with the intention of returning to London the following summer. Because of the outbreak of war in Europe, however, he was advised to remain in the United States.

Yale University appointed him Visiting Professor for the academic year 1939-1940. In September, 1940, he became Bishop Museum Visiting Professor at Yale, an appointment which was renewed for the academic year 1941-1942. Malinowski died in New Haven, Connecticut, on May 16, 1942, in his fifty-eighth year.

For a bibliography of Malinowski's writings, see the article by G. P. Murdock in the American Anthropologist, volume 45, 1943, pp 441-451.

For additional biographical material, see Raymond Firth's introduction to Man & Culture. An Evaluation of the Work of Bronislaw Malinowski (London: 1957). This volume also contains a selected bibliography of Malinowski's works (including material published posthumously) and of works about Malinowski.

From the guide to the Bronislaw Malinowski papers, 1869-1946, 1914-1939, (Manuscripts and Archives)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Gross, Feliks, 1906-2006. Papers, 1928-1977. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Annette Weiner Papers, Bulk, 1970-1997, 1933-1997 New York University. Archives.
referencedIn Stanford University Press archival book copies, 1900-2012 Cecil H. Green Library. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Layard, J. (John). John Willoughby Layard papers [microform], 1897-1974. University of California, San Diego, UC San Diego Library; UCSD Library
referencedIn Reich, Wilhelm, 1897-1957. Wilhelm Reich papers, 1920-1952. Library of Congress
referencedIn Loram, C. T. (Charles Templeman), 1879-1940. Charles Templeman Loram papers, 1779-1975 (inclusive), 1884-1940 (bulk). Yale University Library
referencedIn Joseph Ishill papers, 1888-1966. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Weiner, Annette B., 1933-. Annette B. Weiner papers, 1933-1997 (bulk 1970-1997). Churchill County Museum
referencedIn Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America. Records, 1942-1975. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
creatorOf Malinowski, Bronislaw, 1884-1942. Bronislaw Malinowski papers, 1869-1946 (inclusive), 1914-1939 (bulk). Yale University Library
creatorOf Bronislaw Malinowski papers, 1869-1946, 1914-1939 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn John Alden Mason Papers, 1904-1967 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Malinowski, Bronislaw, 1884-1942. Bronislaw Malinowski papers, 1869-1946 (inclusive), 1914-1939 (bulk). Yale University Library
referencedIn Ellis, Havelock, 1859-1939. Havelock Ellis letters, 1894-1950. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America. Oral history collection, 1919-1986. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
creatorOf Bain, Read, 1892-. Read Bain papers, 1893-1972. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Malinowski, Bronislaw, 1884-1942. Correspondence file, 1928-1930, from Boni & Liveright and Horace Liveright, Inc. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Read Bain papers, 1893-1972 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn Mason, John Alden, 1885-1967. Papers, ca. 1915-1967. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Havelock Ellis Correspondence, 1894-1950. Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
referencedIn Encyclopaedia of Social Sciences, Inc. Records MG2., 1927-1934 Hampshire College Archives
referencedIn Wilhelm Reich Papers, 1920-1952 Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Layard, J. (John). John Willoughby Layard papers, 1897-1974. University of California, San Diego, UC San Diego Library; UCSD Library
referencedIn Mark Anthony De Wolfe Howe additional papers, 1880-1959. Houghton Library.
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Bain, Read, 1892- person
associatedWith Boas, Franz, 1858-1942. person
associatedWith Bonaparte, Marie, Princess, 1882-1962. person
associatedWith Bowman, Isaiah, 1879-1950. person
associatedWith Buck, Pearl S. (Pearl Sydenstricker), 1892-1973. person
associatedWith Cairns, Huntington, 1904-1985. person
associatedWith Chiaromonte, Nicola. person
associatedWith Dewey, John, 1859-1952. person
associatedWith Ellis, Havelock, 1859-1939. person
associatedWith Embree, Edwin R. (Edwin Rogers), 1883-1950. person
associatedWith Encyclopaedia of Social Sciences, Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Fischer, Eugen, 1874-1967. person
associatedWith Fisher, Ruth Anna, 1886- person
associatedWith Frazer, James George, Sir, 1854-1941. person
associatedWith Fremantle, Anne, 1909-2002. person
associatedWith Freud, Anna, 1895-1982. person
associatedWith Gettell, Richard Glen, 1912- person
associatedWith Gross, Feliks, 1906-2006. person
associatedWith Herskovits, Melville J. (Melville Jean), 1895-1963. person
associatedWith Hogben, Lancelot Thomas, 1895-1975. person
associatedWith Hooton, Earnest Albert, 1887-1954. person
associatedWith Howe, M. A. De Wolfe (Mark Antony De Wolfe), 1864-1960. person
associatedWith Huizinga, Johan, 1872-1945. person
associatedWith Huxley, Aldous, 1894-1963. person
associatedWith Huxley, Julian, 1887-1975. person
associatedWith Ishill, Joseph. person
associatedWith Jones, Ernest, 1879-1958. person
associatedWith Korzybski, Alfred, 1879-1950. person
associatedWith Layard, J. (John) person
associatedWith London School of Economics and Political Science. corporateBody
associatedWith Loram, C. T. (Charles Templeman), 1879-1940. person
associatedWith Mason, John Alden, 1885-1967. person
associatedWith Mayo, Elton, 1880-1949. person
associatedWith Montagu, Ashley, 1905-1999. person
associatedWith Murray, Gilbert, 1866-1957. person
associatedWith Oldham, Joseph Houldsworth, 1874-1969. person
associatedWith Pearl, Raymond, 1879-1940. person
associatedWith Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Powdermaker, Hortense, 1903-1970. person
associatedWith Reich, Wilhelm, 1897-1957. person
associatedWith Russell, Bertrand, 1872-1970. person
associatedWith Russell, Dora, 1894-1986. person
associatedWith Sedgwick, Ellery, 1872-1960. person
associatedWith Seligman, C. G. (Charles Gabriel), 1873-1940. person
associatedWith Sorokin, Pitirim Aleksandrovich, 1889-1968. person
associatedWith Spencer, Herbert, 1820-1903. person
associatedWith Stanford University. Press. corporateBody
associatedWith Stopes, Marie Carmichael, 1880-1958. person
associatedWith Wallas, Graham, 1858-1932. person
associatedWith Webb, Beatrice, 1858-1943. person
associatedWith Weiner, Annette B., 1933- person
associatedWith Westermarck, Edward, 1862-1939. person
associatedWith Yale University corporateBody
associatedWith Yale University. Dept. of Anthropology. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
New Guinea
Asia
Asia
Trobriand Islands
New Guinea
Trobriand Islands
Subject
Ethnology
Psychology
Anthropology
Occupation
Anthropologists
Function

Person

Birth 1884

Death 1942

English,

Polish,

German,

Italian,

French

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