Bronislaw Malinowski's pathbreaking Argonauts of the Western Pacific is at once a detailed account of exchange in the Melanesian islands and a manifesto of a modernist anthropology.
Malinowski argued that the goal of which the ethnographer should never lose sight is 'to grasp the native's point of view, his relation to life, to realise his vision of his world.' Through vivid evocations of Kula life,
including the building and launching of canoes, fishing expeditions and the role of myth and magic amongst the Kula people, Malinowski brilliantly describes an inter-island system of exchange - from gifts from father to son to swapping fish for yams - around which an entire community revolves.
A classic of anthropology that did much to establish the primacy of painstaking fieldwork over the earlier anecdotal reports of travel writers, journalists and missionaries, it is a compelling insight into a world now largely lost from view.
With a new foreword by Adam Kuper.
|Publisher:||Waveland Press, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)|
Table of Contents
Foreword to the Routledge Classics Edition. Introduction: The Subject The Method and Scope of This Enquiry. 1. The Country and Inhabitants of the Kula District. 2. The Natives of the Trobriand Islands. 3. The Essentials of The Kula. 4. Canoes and Sailing. 5. The Ceremonial Building of A Waga. 6. Launching of a Conoe and Ceremonial Visiting - Tribal Economics in The Trobriands. 7. The Departure of an Overseas Expedition. 8. The First Halt of The Fleet on Muwa. 9. Sailing on the Sea-Arm of Pilolu. 10. The Story of Shipwreck. 11. In the Amphletts- Sociology of The Kula. 12. In Teewara and Sanaroa- Mythology of the Kula. 13. On the Beach of Sarubwoyna. 14. The Kula in Dobu-Technicalities of The Exchange. 15. The Journey Home- The Fishing and Working of The Kaloma Shell. 16. The Return Visit of The Dobuans to Sinaketa. 17. Magic and the Kula. 18. The Power of Words in Magic-Some Linguistic Data. 19. The Inland Kula. 20. Expeditions Between Kiriwina and Kitava. 21. The Remaining Branches and Offshoots of The Kula. 22. The Meaning of Kula. Index
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Even though I majored in anthropology in undergraduate school and had heard of 'Argonauts', and the deep reverence many in the field held for this book, it wasn't until graduate school that I was finally assigned to read it. It was my 'core' course in cultural anthropology. We had 12 books to read in one semester. As I recall, 'Argonauts' came up eighth on that list. Once I stated it I was absolutely enthralled. I had a terrible decision to make... do I read and annotate 'Argonauts' carefully word for word and page by page, or do I skim it like the others and go on to the rest of the book list? I chose to annotate 'Argonauts' carefully, skip the rest of the list, fake it as best I could, and hope for the best... It was that GOOD! Argonauts of the Western Pacific tells the story of people living in a completely different culture, using a completely different value system, and a completely different lifestyle. They are matrilineal and matrilocal which means decent and living arrangements are all traced through the mother. So, did it matter who your father was? This book is compelling in its uniqueness, especially seeing that World War One spelled the doom of this culture and its people. A MUST for every anthropology student!... For those interested, I made an 'A' in the course...