Crime and Custom in Savage Society

Overview

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 ...

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Crime and Custom in Savage Society

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Malinowski has said a great deal for so small a book. This little treatise is destined to be widely read and oft referred to.”

—Frank H. Hankins, Social Forces

“Brilliant, weighted with many concrete facts, illustrated with graphic accounts of Melanesian crimes and tragedies, and illuminated with the clear insight of one who knows these people well, Crime and Custom offers the social scientist a fascinating and scholarly study in the sociology of law.”

—Leslie A. White, American Journal of Sociology

“[A] stimulating contribution to the study of law and order in a primitive society.”

—I. Schapera, Man

“Rarely has such a little book had such a big intellectual influence… Until well after World War II almost every work of legal anthropology felt the need to cite it and take it on. Even now, it remains a core element of the legal anthropologist’s basic literacy.”

—John M. Conley and William M. O’Barr, Law & Social Inquiry

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412849784
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/28/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.34 (d)

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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Table of Contents

Preface

Introduction to the Transaction Edition

Introduction

PART I. Primitive Law and Order

1 The Automatic Submission to Custom and the Real Problem

2 Melanesian Economics and the Theory of Primitive Communism

3 The Binding Force of Economic Obligations

4 Reciprocity and Dual Organization

5 Law, Self-interest, and Social Ambition

6 The Rules of Law in Religious Acts

7 The Law of Marriage

8 The Principle of Give-and-take Pervading Tribal Life

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