Crime and Custom in Savage Societyby Bronislaw Malinowski
Crime and Custom in Savage Society represents Bronislaw Malinowski’s major discussion of the relationship between law and society. Throughout his career he constructed a coherent science of anthropology, one modeled on the highest standards of practice and theory. Methodology steps forward as a core element of the refashioned anthropology, one that stipulates the manner in which anthropological data should be acquired. Malinowski’s choice of law was not inevitable, but neither was it unmotivated. Anyone interested in understanding the social structure and organization of societies cannot avoid dealing with the concept of "law," even if it is to deny its presence. Law and anthropology have shown a natural affinity for one another, sharing a beneficial history of using the methods and viewpoints of one to inform and advance the other. The best lesson Malinowski provides us with comes in the last paragraphs of Crime and Custom in Savage Society: "The true problem is not to study how human life submits to rules; the real problem is how the rules become adapted to life." On that question, he has left us richly inspired to continue the quest.
Meet the Author
Bronislaw Malinowski (1884-1942) was one of the most important anthropologists of the twentieth century. He was known for his ethnographic work in the Trobriand Islands, which yielded material for such classic works as Argonauts of the Western Pacific, Sexual Life of Savages in Northwestern Melanesia, Coral Gardens and Their Magic, and Crime and Custom in Savage Society.
James M. Donovan is director and associate professor of law at the University of Kentucky College of Law. His publications include Legal Anthropology: An Introductionand Anthropology & Law (with H. Edwin Anderson).
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