Argonauts of the Western Pacific
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
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 knowledge about humankind. This volume--originally published in 1922--can be considered the founding document of economic anthropology, and remains the best one to read. It emphasizes the great significance of primitive economics by singling out the notable exchange system of the Trobriand Islands for special consideration. Although the main theme is economic, constant reference is made in this milestone of anthropological research and interpretation to social organization, life and meaning, the power of magic, and to mythology and folklore.
Title of related interest also available from Waveland Press: Malinowski, Magic, Science and Religion and Other Essays (ISBN 9780881336573.
South, return from the furthest point and settle near Tewara, in which there is some analogy to several other myths in which heroes from the Marshall Bennett Islands settle down somewhere between the Amphletts and Dobu. One of them turns her eyes Northwards towards the non-cannibal people of Boyowa and she is said to be averse to cannibalism. Probably this is a sort of mythological explanation of why the Boyowan people do not eat men and the Dobuans do, an explanation to which there is an analogy
New Guinea, are inhabited by a “relatively tall, dark-skinned, frizzly-haired” race, called by Dr. Seligman Papuan, and in the hills more especially by pygmy tribes. We know little about these people, swamp tribes and hill tribes alike, who probably are the autochtons in this part of the world.1 As we shall also not meet them in the following account, it will be better to pass to the tribes who inhabit the accessible parts of New Guinea. “The Eastern Papuasians, that is, the generally smaller,
prefix toli—followed by the name of the object owned. Thus the compound word (pronounced without hiatus) toli-waga means “owner” or “master” of a canoe (swaga); toli-bagula, the master of the garden (bagula—garden); toli-bunukwa, owner of the pig; toli-megwa, owner, expert in magic, etc. This word has to be used as a clue to the understanding of native ideas, but here again such a clue must be used with caution. For, in the first place, like all abstract native words, it covers a wide range, and
life, a crudity marked precisely on the æsthetic side. One imagines greasy, dirty, naked bodies, moppy hair full of vermin, and other realistic features which make up one’s idea of the “savage,” and in some respects reality bears out imagination. As a matter of fact though, the incongruity does not exist when once one has seen native art actually displayed in its own setting. A festive mob of natives, with the wonderful golden-brown colour of their skins brought out by washing and anointing and
almost indispensable. True, the canoe could be scooped out in the raybwag, and then a few men might be able to pull it along, applying some skill. But it would entail great hardships. Thus, in some cases, communal labour is of extreme importance, and in all cases it furthers the course of work considerably. Sociologically, it is important, because it implies mutual help, exchange of services, and solidarity in work within a wide range. Communal labour is an important factor in the tribal economy