The Early Writings of Bronisław Malinowski

Thornton, Robert J. and Peter Skalník 1993. Introduction: Malinowski's Reading, Writing, 1904-1914. In: Thornton, Robert J. and Peter Skalník (eds.), The Early Writings of Bronisław Malinowski. Translated by Ludwik Krzyżanowski. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Malinowski probably also realized that his unusual central European scholarship was a valuable intellectual asset not easily available to English-speakers, especially if it could be used to foster the image of the prophet with a mystrious source of new ideas with which to revolutionize a discipline. Indeed, his reserach on heroic legend and myth, and his reading of Nietzsche, may well have pushed him in this direction of 'self-fashioning' and myth-making. (Thornton & Skalník 1993: 3)

That is, he may have decided not to translate his early writings because it might have reduced his novelty. It is also a pretty solid way to avoid criticism - your opponents simply don't know what you're relying on and can't discount you as an adherent of this school of thought or that.

As a grammar school student Malinowski completed eight years of Latin and six years of Greek in addition to the modern languages, German, French, English and Italian. (Thornton & Skalník 1993: 10)

Hence the Greek "phatic".

The Polish literary and artistic movement, Młoda Polska, 'Young Poland', helped to preserve and to celebrate a national culture which had no autonomous political territory. Young Poland expressed in a Polish idiom and context the modernist currents in Western and Central European religion, poetry, painting, theatre and drama. The streets of old Cracow were home to students and other young and talented people. (Thornton & Skalník 1993: 11)

Just like Noor-Eesti ('Young-Estonia')! Look up Johannes Aavik.

Malinowski understood metaphysics as the effort to anthropomorphize the world of objective reality. He argued that German metaphysics in general, and Nietzsche's metaphysics in The Birth of Tragedy in particular, is an attempt to 'subjectivize' or 'humanize' the objective world of things. Thus, while 'from a purely scientific point of view', metaphysics does posses 'a system of exact and pure concepts', the philosophical goal of metaphysical inquiry cannot be achieved. This is because no simple anthropomorphism of the world can ever make the 'world of reality simply human'. The ultimate reality of the objective world is 'forever closed' to the world of thought and emotions. (Thornton & Skalník 1993: 18)

Perhaps a major point of his contention with collective consciousness, which he proclaims a metaphysical concept. His contention with Durkheim's view of common sentiment (emotions) and communion of mind (thoughts) may very well rest on this view of things.

Malinowski thus extends the concept of myth into a general anthropological concept or category. In other words, in asserting that there can be modern (or contemporary) myths about myth, he is extending the concept beyond the status of a descriptive category applying to primitive thought alone. It becomes instead a theoretical concept capable of generating new research and insights. (Thornton & Skalník 1993: 22)

Phraseology in relation with terminological coinage.

His functionalism turned, in fact, on a method, not a theory. The method consisted in using one's whole personal life as a scientific instrument that, like any good scientific instrument, permitted us to discover patterns and connections we had not seen before. (Thornton & Skalník 1993: 26)

But when this "scientific instrument's" inability to connect with its human subject is hampered by very human inabilities (to look at a "savage" as an equal) mangles a teaching of conversation into a critical view of "meaningless communication", its problematic effects can be felt even a century later.

Nevertheless, Malinowski points out that Mach assumed that the purpose of science is objectively determinable. Here Malinowski's criticism is far reaching and profound, for he argues that the [p. 33] purpose of science is in fact social, not objective, and that in simply assuming the transparency of purpose in science, Mach necessarily renders impossible any proof based on the supposed 'efficiency' of science as a description of the world. 'What is of concern to us', Malinowski writes, 'is science taken socially, as a phenomenon of collective life, not as a facet in the psychology of the individual mind'. (Thornton & Skalník 1993: 32-33)

Phraseology for the elucidation of the social function of speech, which seems to hinge on the determination of collective mood, the polite and pleasant qualities of the "atmosphere" (or "scene"). He appears to rely on Mahaffy on the collective duty of conversation, thus generalizing from individual psychology to social psychology.

First, an attack on reification provides one of the hidden motives for the dissertation. This hostility to reification and 'humanization' of the abstract or ideological realm manifested itself particularly clearly in Malinowski's strict and consistent refusal to accept the hypothesis of the supra-individual consciousness or species-mind of the 'horde' in Freud's Totem and Taboo (1925), or in Durkheim's and Rivers' belief in primitive communism (Malinowski 1935: II, 235-40; Stocking 1986: 12). This concern occurs over and over again in his work, [...] (Thornton & Skalník 1993: 35)

This concern occurs also in the origin of phatic communion, which explicitly negates Durkhemi's collective consciousness: "is society, in its crowd-aspect, nothing more than the atmosphere in which individuals create religious ideas?" (Malinowski 1913b: 529)

His remarks, expressed first in this essay, on Frazer's failure to understand that the pragmatics of a situation far overwhelm the intellectual component are similarly reflected in his ethnography. (Thornton & Skalník 1993: 41)

The same occurs in speech as "a mode of action".

Malinowski also argues that Frazer had misconceived the savage mind and slates Frazer for his tendency to assume that the savages were 'calculating utilitarians'. (Thornton & Skalník 1993: 42)

And yet, Goyama's "feelings for [him were] utilitarian rather than sentimental" (Malinowski 1967: 142-143).

In traditional terms, such as those adopted by Frazer and Durkheim, the Australians lacked an 'economy'. Indeed, for both Frazer and Durkheim, this is precisely what makes them seem to be exemplars of the primitive. Both locate their evolutionary 'zero-point' at the 'cultural level' of the Australian aborigines, and, as Malinowski points out, their theoretical edifices stand on the assumption that these people are the simplest, most 'elementary' forms of human social, cultural and intellectual life. (Thornton & Skalník 1993: 45)

As opposed to Malinowski, who never fails to mention that savage and civilized alike share some primitive modes of action.

He also begins to elaborate the idea that tomemism is not so much a belief or an intellectual [p. 46] system as it is a form of social organization, and that it may differ in the role it plays in different societies. (Thornton & Skalník 1993: 45-46)

"This no doubt varies greatly with the national character but remains true as a general rule." (PC 4.4) - no source given for this rule, no comparison of varieties undertaken. (An analysis of these varieties could begin with "perfunctory" vs "lively" manner.)

'It is extremely difficult', Malinowski remarks with a footnote to Lévy-Bruhl's Les fonctions mentales dans les sociétés inférieures (1910), 'to determine, even approximately, the inner attitude of even our own peasant with regard to the object of his cult [...] and so there can be no talk of being able to get to the bottom of the most hidden, most complicated subjective states of the savage'. (Thornton & Skalník 1993: 46)

And yet he can write about "the primitive mind, whether among savages or our own uneducated classes" (PC 4.3), what taciturnity means for them, and how words in PC "are neither the result of intellectual reflection, nor do they necessarily arouse reflection in the listener" (PC 6.4), leaving us hanging as to his method of peering into these "primitive minds".

Unlike Frazer's, these definitions focus attention on 'social, objective facts' that are 'easily accessible to close observation'. (Thornton & Skalník 1993: 47)

With regard to the semantic and thematic content of speech, yes. With regard to conscious reflection upon said content, no.

In 'The relation of primitive beliefs to the forms of social organization' Malinowski put forward a pragmatic and functionalist theory of totemism as fundamentally practical and arising from an 'attitude to the environment', while in his manuscript remarks on The Golden Bough he noted that totemism is both 'economy' and 'religion'. (Thornton & Skalník 1993: 52)

Along similar lines, PC is underlined by attitude towards one's social environment. Hence the increasingly pejorative usage can perhaps be linked to urbanization and the stress of constant contact with a multitude of strangers with whom small talk is pointless because you may not even meet the person again.

Magic, he claims, is first of all a technique that is used to achieve economic ends. Whether or not it actually achieves them, he says, does not matter 'for the native who actually perceives the material results of his magical practices'. (Thornton & Skalník 1993: 55)

By the same token, is speech a technique to achieve social ends? Or is the social exchange of speech a means to an external end, e.g. nutrition in the case of "the communion of food"?

At best, totemism is a 'set fo heterogeneous and loosely connected phenomena' some of which are 'social' while others 'religious'. In other words, there is no 'essence' of totemism, simply defined or 'univocally determined'. (Thornton & Skalník 1993: 58)


[Edvard] Westermack's approach [in The History of Human Marriage (1892)] was most innovative in introducing comparisons between human social structure and that of higher vertebrates and the anthropoid apes. His methods presaged the growth of ethology, the study of animal social organization, and of sociobiology, a discourse on the biological evolution of social behaviour informed by Darwinian principles. These later studies have largely confirmed Westermarck's findings that the family, consisting of a relatively monogamous union of a male and female adult with their children belonging to both (that is not exclusively patri- or matrilineal), was most probably the elementary form of even the earliest human societies. Malinowski immediately recognized the superiority of this viewpoint. (Thornton & Skalník 1993: 63)

Thus, Malinowski's teacher/supervisor can potentially serve as a link between him and Weston La Barre, who situates phatic communication within primatological observations and modern family psychotherapy.

Malinowski, Bronisław 1993[1904/05]. Observations on Friedrich Nietzsche's The Birth of Tragedy. In: Thornton, Robert J. and Peter Skalník (eds.), The Early Writings of Bronisław Malinowski. Translated by Ludwik Krzyżanowski. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 67-88. [Original in handwritten Polish. Bronisław Malinowski Papers, Manuscript and Archives, Stirling Library, Yale University, Group No. 19, Series II, Box 27, file 237.]

Defining something to be an absolute reality, and consequently relegating everything else to the order of appearances, of something negative and secondary, already contains a value judgement and thus emotional factors in addition to purely conceptual, cognitive ones. (Malinowski 1993[1904/05]: 67)

Likewise, his characterization of the primitive function of speech contains a value judgement based on his own personal communion with the natives he was studying. His negative experiences seem to have coloured his theory immensely, at least to the point of ignoring the good speech practices advised by Mahaffy and presenting "social vices" (talking about weather and oneself) as the defining characteristics of PC.

Whether the absolute is a personal God, a God permeating the world and fused with it; or monads, the individual souls of all things; or Schopenhauer's Will - everywhere the metaphysically conceived essence of things is a subjectivization, a humanization of reality; tuning itself to the resonance of our inner experiences and longings. Sometimes this leans more towards rationalizing everything: endowing each thing (or the universe) with a rational soul; sometimes it is made ethical, and sometimes that which is subjective in the most general sense is impressed into reality: this is Schopenhauer's Will. (Malinowski 1993[1904/05]: 68)

The metaphysical accusation in his own words.

As religion ossifies, either in the historical development of a given society or in a vertical cross-section of society from bottom to top, myth is replaced by dogma, faith in immaterial things, faith transplanted to the ground of reason where it can exist only in the artificial and unhealthy atmosphere of scholarly rationalism (cf. The Birth of Tragedy, 10, p. 76). Myth is the result of the emotional denial of the logical postulates of the uniformity of space and time. (Malinowski 1993[1904/05]: 70)

Still collecting atmospheric metaphors. And the "emotional denial" could equally describe apophatic definition, or the denial of the faculties of mind (feeling, action, thought) in purely social intercourse. Nietzch: "The primordial pleasure of mere appearance" (p. 43) [1968; 50] (infra, 73)

According to what was said above about art, in an artistic work there must always be such a new, subjective reality, which is the actual essence of art, a new area of space to which art introduces the man experiencing it. The trance or ecstacy we experience under the influence of the harmony of sounds or colours in an essential moment of artistry; it cannot be made the monopoly of a certain category of the arts. (Malinowski 1993[1904/05]: 74)

An alternative reading of "atmosphere". That is, PC is "a new, subjective reality" induced by the mere exchange of words.

In other words, there is no such thing as a non-Dionysian art which does not give us a direct union with the primordial unity. [...] On the other hand Nietzsche sets up this distinction as something basic, prime, and diametrically opposed - and as such it could perhaps refer to a subjective experience of art, and not to an objective classification which is blurred. (Malinowski 1993[1904/05]: 75)

First the postcard question: is there a means of communication that does not include elements of PC? And secondly phraseology - prime/primitive; communion diametrically opposed to communication.

In general one can feel that we are moving here into the sphere of metaphysics, i.e., of nebulous concepts not referring to any concrete, clearly and unequivocally defined reality. [...] Dream and calm contemplation are distinguished in contrast to orgy, dance, frenzy, a certain characteristic way of experiencing art which can undoubtedly be found in psychological reality. (Malinowski 1993[1904/05]: 75)

The defining characteristics of metaphysical concepts, and the intuitive reality of "small talk".

It may be said that in the ecstatic [|] workings of art, we feel as if a new world opens up within us, which absorbs us and destroys the sensations of the world outside us. (Malinowski 1993[1904/05]: 76-77)

The analogy continues: "It is obvious that the outer situation does not enter directly into the technique of speaking." (PC 7.3)

[...] it foregoes, clearly and a priori, any claim to explain the inner secrets of arts and to move the viewpoint of the man experiencing art deeper into aesthetic cognition even by a step. (Malinowski 1993[1904/05]: 78)

Likewise, PC doesn't actually elaborate our understanding of communication or the cognitive function of it, does it?

The paradox, which could be called 'the artistic form in the realm of concepts', is a thought which constantly shimmers and opalesces in its utterance, which cannot be directly assimilated, be transformed into a certain and unshakable component of any sort of inner synthesis, which cannot be reduced to a state of stable equilibrium: it always introduces motion and [p. 79] creativity whenever we touch it. Schopenhauer's nomenclature, pressing thoughts into dry schemata, and the fiery, aphoristic style of Nietzsche, constantly fertilizing our thought and imagination with paradoxes, flow parallel and at different tempos and carry two, basically different spiritual currents. After stripping the work of Schopenhauer's metaphysical cover, the thoughts and conceptions which remain are decidedly much deeper and more interesting. (Malinowski 1993[1904/05]: 78-79)

PC cannot be integrated wholly into any complehensive theory of communication because its intrinsic ambiguity has made it liable to illegitimate diffusion, constant re-invention, but when we re-combine the structure of the argument with Mahaffy's positive techniques of conversation, something decidedly much deeper and more interesting avails itself - a positive theory of social communication.

All of life is a struggle; it is a struggle insofar as we grant that the horror of life is the single adversary against which man takes his stand, armed with his spiritual creativity. (Malinowski 1993[1904/05]: 80)

Cf. "the hazardous enterprise of living" (Conrad 1914: 11) and "personal distrust of the world" (Payne 1981: 438).

For, in their effects both the tragic and vitalism tear us away from the immediate grasp of the talons of horror and carry us off to the place where, in contrast to the spectral harmony of pan-negation which permeates all of objective reality, everything is either a confirmation, a solution, or, if negotiation is employed, it is, as it were, tragically discredited, negation confirmed by man, and thus subjectivized and eo ipso controlled. (Malinowski 1993[1904/05]: 80)

Continuing the analogy between atmosphere of sociability and the aesthetic experience, here's an alternative to "Always the same emphasis on affirmation and consent" (PC 5.3).

And here lies the source of never being able to dry up the evil which develops within us into pain and lies, into an incessant worry and into a no less terrible compromise: an evil which even debasing our selves to a state of thoughtlessness and carelessness cannot overcome. (Malinowski 1993[1904/05]: 82)

Phraseology: "Once again we may say that language does not function here as a means of transmission of thought" (PC 6.5).

The term 'thought' is obviously used here in a very broad sense as the embodiment of the fundamental creative chaos, whether it be artistic or philosophical in nature. (Malinowski 1993[1904/05]: 83)

I have a feeling that if I use phraseology from this piece of writing it might turn a bit too poetic. But indeed, this fundamental creative chaos is missing from the mechanical utterances of near-automata.

Because the development of 'thought' is something quite dependent on the level of culture, the individual's inclinations, and the structure of society, it can be seen at once that less basic factors are involved here, factors more complicated, in brief sociological factors, depending on the culture in which the artist lives and creates. (Malinowski 1993[1904/05]: 85)

More on the savages' incapacity for "exact meaning" - perhaps communicating ideas is not an option for Malinowski's straw-man savage because he does not consider their culture conducive of higher thought?

Malinowski, Bronisław 1993[1906]. On the principle of the economy of thought. In: Thornton, Robert J. and Peter Skalník (eds.), The Early Writings of Bronisław Malinowski. Translated by Ludwik Krzyżanowski. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 89-116. [The original in Polish is entitled, 'O zasadzie ekonomii myślenia', PhD dissertation, Jagiellonian University. Jagellonian University Archives, Sygn. X 1237.]

In whatever manner we might define the connection between the mind and the body, the functions of the mind are so important to the preservation of the individual that we must assume that they are well suited to this task, that is, that they are expedient (zweckmässig). Expedience is defined by two conditions: ability to accomplish a given task, and accomplishing it according to the principle of least effort. (Malinowski 1993[1906]: 96)

I've heard this word frequently as of late. This definition is serviceable.

Besides influencing the mechanism of apperception, the principle is also manifested in what we are given by apperception (Leistung der Apperception). We know that the concern here is with relieving our soul by eliminating an unknown, and thus a disquieting and arduous, notion. However, if, besides this relief, we are able to experience some durable effect, such an apperception will be more perfect in its action by better corresponding to the principle of least effort, [...] (Malinowski 1993[1906]: 96)

Phraseology for the relieving of that strange and unpleasant tension felt in the presence of a stranger.

To carry out a methodical critique of any kind of views, three basic elements must be taken into consideration. First of all we must realize from what standpoint the given reasoning is made, that is, on what assumptions and postulates it is based. The second element, independent of the first, consists in going through the reasoning; in this the rules of formal logic should be the only guidelines. Finally, the third point of departure for the critique should be the conclusions which the author reaches through his reasoning based on the assumptions he has adopted. A good critique should examine all three of these aspects of the reasoning. (Malinowski 1993[1906]: 97)

Valuable points. First distinguish the assumptions (e.g. "fundamental tendencies" and the like), then the points of reasoning (i.e. why doesn't he think that communion establishes common sentiments) and lastly the conclusions reached, which in my particular case are self-contradictory (is a pleasant atmosphere not a common sentiment?).

The reason for this is that, in scholarly research, intuition plays no less important, and doubtless more creative, role than logical analysis. Criticism must always be careful not to throw away the wheat with the chaff, nor pick holes in the reasoning where the basic value of the concept is concerned. (Malinowski 1993[1906]: 103)

Epigraphic! One of my major point about the definition of PC is that it is an intuitive concept.

Man aims at self-preservation. All functions of the organism, including thinking, remembering, and imagining, serve to place the individual in the most favourable position possible in relation to the environment. (Malinowski 1993[1906]: 106)

Comparable to Clay's incommunicable questions (rational, mnemonic, evaluative).

Only in such a class is a general interest in facts possible, for the primitive individual chooses only immediately useful or strikingly wonderful facts. The situation offered by society also makes possible the utilization [p. 107] of other people's experience by a new worker, which is made possible through communication with the help of speech. 'Communication is basically a prescription for recreating facts in one's thoughts'. (Malinowski 1993[1906]: 106-107)

From Mach' Popular Scientific Lectures, p. 193.

However, various people, contemporaneously, or one after another, will accomplish this adaptation in most varied ways. One will overlook this, another something else. Often a century is needed to replace false paths [p. 108] with true ones. (Mach; in Malinowski 1993[1906]: 107)

Phraseology. From Mach's Principles of the Theory of Heat.

All minds were fascinated by Darwin's theory. In the very formulation of the problem we have a clear trace of Darwin's influence on Mach's train of thought. Man is conceived as an organism struggling with nature and with other individuals. All of the functions of this organism can be conceived teleologically as the tools best suited to this truggle. The next step leads us to coordinate our thought, imagination, and memory with these other functions. (Malinowski 1993[1906]: 108)

Anticipating his own theories of culture in his post 1930 period.

Therefore, in order to define the validity of a law, there must be a measure. Such a measure is 'a normal human being', a normally functioning human mind, a typical or collective intellect. Actually, if we limit ourselves to considering an individual mind, the results would have no value. What is of concern to us is science taken socially, as a phenomenon of collective life, not as a facet in the development of an individual mind. (Malinowski 1993[1906]: 110)

J. B. Peterson says that "human beings are social eaters and that's a species characteristic". I think that in the definition of the primitive function of speech Malinowski might be attempting to characterize it as such (speciel characteristic), laying national character as a further layer of differentiation. This here is thus a connection point between primitiveness and collective consciousness.

Furthermore, if assuming the existence of the egos of others is in many cases an indispensable hypothesis, then assuming the hypothetical existence of some universal or objective mind deprived of individual traits, the lack of which would immediately make it abnormal, contains many far-fetched and non-empirical elements. I believe that scientific laws can be defined perfectly without employing any psychological data in a manner totally equivalent to any definition of a physical value. (Malinowski 1993[1906]: 111)

Already protesting against collective consciousness. Ironically, "purpose" is a psychological datum.

That is, isn't the actual process of the beam sagging ust as objective a measure of our formula, as the process of steam pressure building up in the boiler (observable, we assume, in some other way) is an objective measure of the operation of our manometer? That which we had wanted to justify in this digression can be formulated as follows: the value of scientific laws is objective in the sense that for its recognition we do not need to refer to a typical, normal individual, or to a plebiscite of mankind. (Malinowski 1993[1906]: 112)

When defining speech functions, make sure you don't have to refer to an attitude picked up from a conversational manual or races and classes of humans.

First of all we have dealt with the general qualities of the concept of economy and the limits to its applicability. In essence this concept is the same as the minimum of a function. Since it is a particular value of a function, it can be used to characterize certain special circumstances in a given group of phenomena. However, we cannot assume that economy is a universal quality of a self-enclosed group of phenomena, for example, all physical or all mental phenomena, for to such a group the concept of a function cannot be applied. Therefore it can be foreseen a priori that the principle of least effort introduced by Avenarius as a fundamental psychological principle will not prove to be faultless. (Malinowski 1993[1906]: 113)

I have a hunch that the reason the social function of speech is most frequently attributed to what I call "non-standard speakers of language" (i.e. natives, babies, birds, apes, uneducated classes, sailors, soldiers, and prisoners) is that something like Jespersen's "minimum language" can be found there. So if your aim is critical then naturally you'd veer towards these language users. That is to say, when looking for minimum function of the economy of mental effort in language use then non-standard users crop up.

Malinowski, Bronisław 1993[1910]. Religion and magic: The Golden Bough. In: Thornton, Robert J. and Peter Skalník (eds.), The Early Writings of Bronisław Malinowski. Translated by Ludwik Krzyżanowski. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 117-122. [Original handwritten in Polish. Bronisław Malinowski Papers, Manuscript and Archive, Stirling Library, Yale University, Group No. 19, Series 11, Box 27, file 244.]

Magic stands in contradistinction to religion, which fulfils a basic organizing function, creating a common cult and a common system of norms, two things without which no society can exist. The cult is the result of forces, which evoke certain acts even outside of the cult. (Malinowski 1993[1910]: 118)

Compare this to Durkheim's explanation. Note that evoking certain acts even outside of the cult parallels how the public speaker must gather his listeners again and again to reinforce the sentiments which otherwise would return to natural passions. In other words, Malinowski' attributes to religion the function of checking impulsiveness.

The second basic form is dancing, movement in general, the execution of certain [*] [illegible - eds.]. The psychological origin of this is not so much a rationalization as a natural impulse. When we have a preoccupation, when something important happens behind our backs, the natural impulse is to do something. We are seized with anxiety, and even though realizing the futility of the action, we move about. And the idea springs from this background. But without the emotional background the ideas would lead to nothing. (Malinowski 1993[1910]: 120)

Two implicit PC tropes: preoccupation = "they accompany some mere manual work by gossip quite unconnected with what they are doing" (PC 1.2); and "comments on what is perfectly obvious" (PC 5.1). When something extraordinary occurs in the context of the situation that draws attention to itself the natural response is to say something about it to those in the vicinity, the more extraordinary the event the more bolder the approach. In times of disaster this has survival value.

According to Frazer this consists of an association of ideas, based on the principle that man merges and identifies with what he sees. For me this is false, for the concept of merging says nothing to me. In psychology there are other associations of ideas. Contact is a real, experiential osculation in space. And its force depends on the frequency with which we experience [p. 121] them. However, here experiential frequency is by no means decisive. Contact must be defined by something else. But by what? Only an analysis of the emotional aspects of human psychology can give us an answer. (Malinowski 1993[1910]: 120-121)

Very relevant for dissecting "ties of sentiment" and "bonds of union". Osculate: "to come into close contact or union". Also, here goes my earlier belief, that Malinowski did not employ "contact" in Jakobson's sense, right out the window. The overall point gives maximum credence to La Barre's psychological interpretation of phatic communication. Note, also, that the overall gist of this passage is that mere mutual acquaintance (frequent exposure) that does not a band of personal union make. There must also be an emotional component, for which we could enter Granovetter's rather apt "mutual confiding", for which there is support in Mahaffy.

Malinowski, Bronisław 1993[1911-1913]. Totemism and exogamy. In: Thornton, Robert J. and Peter Skalník (eds.), The Early Writings of Bronisław Malinowski. Translated by Ludwik Krzyżanowski. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 123-199. [Original published in three parts in Polish in the journal Lud, vols. 17-19. They appeared as (1) "Totemizm i egzogamia (Z pówodu książki J. G. Frazera, DCL, LLD, FBA: Totemism and Exogamy, 4 vols., London, 2010)', Czȩść 1, Lud 17: 31-56; (2) 'Totemizm i egzogamia (Z pówodu książki J. G. Frazera [...])', Czȩść 1, Lud 18: 14-15; (3) 'Totemizm i egzogamia (Z pówodu książki J. G. Frazera [...])', Czȩść 1, Lud 19: 153-171.]

Thus, this collection, along with all of Professor Frazer's other works, will be an invaluable treasury and mine of facts for a host of scholars who, possessing splendidly collected material arranged in such a way as to bring many a dependence between phenomena into relief, will perhaps often be able to formulate more precise and more scientific theories than the original author. (Malinowski 1993[1911-1913]: 125)

The course of science.

The fewer hypothetical assumptions and postulates to be found in a given description of facts, the greater the value of this description, but because every precise description of facts requires precise concepts, and these can be provided only by theory, only description and classification must thus be based of necessity on a theoretical formulation. (Malinowski 1993[1911-1913]: 127)

How empty are these platitudes?

Obviuosly, one must avoid the assumption that the primitive mind is capable of any precise and defined concepts such as the sequence of time, infinity, epochs, etc. However, their legends can probably be arranged in a certain sequence, but this sequence is expressed in an extremely undefined way [...] The Australians themselves probably have no clear conception about this and in their mystic, nebulous way of thinking simply identify their ancestors with their totemic animals. (Malinowski 1993[1911-1913]: 129)

Exact meaning, again.

He makes no clear line of demarcation between facts and inferences from facts; there are no clearly noted assumptions; we must find them for ourselves in order to be able to subject them to [p. 136] criticism. (Malinowski 1993[1911-1913]: 135)

Phraseology for finding theoretical context to criticize.

However, each scholar places the tribes in a different evolutionary series and justifies it in a different manner. What evokes the most distrust in their results is the fact that each of their series arees by a strange coincidence with the author's a priori views and hypotheses. (Malinowski 1993[1911-1913]: 136)

Phraseology for the endless variety of phatics evident today.

Siding with the latter is the prominent French scholar, A. van Gennep, who finds features of great primitiveness especially in the Arunta tribe. On the other hand, A. Lang is of the opinion that the Arunta tribe is far removed from a primitive state, that it is one of the most developed in Australia and that the totemic views about conception are the result of a complex animistic philosophy. (Malinowski 1993[1911-1913]: 138)

Argument against primitiveness and being great metaphysicians.

The harvest which Professor Frazer reaps from the Australian material is very rich; however, it cannot be regarded as a dependable scientific achievement. The basic assumption of the Australian evolutionary series is uncertain, but even in the details many objections could be raised against Frazer's theories. He uncritically regards legends to be historical truths, and his theory of exogamy is open to criticism in many respects. Above all, the acceptance of any conscious, large scale social reforms in very primitive peoples seems to be basically erronseous. (Malinowski 1993[1911-1913]: 140)

Phraseology for Malinowski's own work, particularly with regards to the criticism one can raise against the apophatic definition, which negates the three primary functions too "uncritically", making them into paradoxes. His opinions, on which these negations hinge, appear too uncertain. "Erronseous" is an erroneous spelling of "erroneous".

Finally, the independence of totemism and exogamy in central Australia is an entirely exceptional phenomenon. Therefore one must first of all prove that this exception is not an anomaly before passing a whole theory on it. (Malinowski 1993[1911-1913]: 140)

Independence/futility, self-reflexiveness or lack of utilitarian purposiveness as a pattern of theorization in Malinowski's ethnographic theory. PC is not an anomalous case in his attempts to formulate the intention behind phenomena he was recording.

The interest of an exact scientist should focus on understanding and penetrating the mechanism and essence of social phenomena as they exist at present and are accessible to observation, and not in order that these phenomena should serve as a key to solving the riddle of a prehistoric past about which we cannot know anything empirically. Evolutionary hypotheses possess meaning and vaule, but only insofar as other forms of cognition are not subordinated to them. (Malinowski 1993[1911-1913]: 140)

Note the chasm between description and interpretation. Is futility or non-utility a valid mechanism and essence of social phenomena? How is it different from the futility of aesthetics? (the other "fourth function" alongside the earlier "linguistic material").

Such a definition must be based on the collective psychology of a given society. (Malinowski 1993[1911-1913]: 142)

Wundt's Völkpsychologie? Just solidifying the relation between "national character" and "collective consciousness".

According to these ideas, the woman is fertilized by the totemic ratapa, and it is precisely from this that ties of clan unity result. (Malinowski 1993[1911-1913]: 142)

Ties of union. Ideas in place of ceremonies.

To the former belong beliefs, legends, and the rites of the totemic cult, when considered with respect to their content; the latter, social aspect is defined by the form of the totemic clan's organization and by all of the social functions which it fulfils. In other words, we could say less specifically that the religious aspect is defined by man's relationship to his totem, and the social aspect by the mutual relationship of the members of the clan to one another, and the mutual relationship of the clans, as social units. (Malinowski 1993[1911-1913]: 145)

Does PC exhaust all the social aspects of language and functions which they fulfil in speech? Note that Mahaffy is markedly more systematic in this aspect (compare his one-to-one and one-to-many with Ruesch's systematic abstraction). Note the highest level in Argonauts, that kula is an inter-tribal means of communion. Asides in the story of a man who escaped enemies through his kula partner's aid and tangentially para-sociality and Wang's phatic systems.

Animals belonging to the totemic species of a given clan were enveloped in special honour and care by the members of its clan, but it was rather an attitude of family sympathy and friendship than it was religious worship. (Malinowski 1993[1911-1913]: 146)

So, goodwill.

We are dealing here with some sort of a reversal of totemic beliefs, with types of beliefs that are, after all, quite widespread over the earth, about those beliefs which we call 'metapsychoses'. (Malinowski 1993[1911-1913]: 154)

The Art(s) of Conversation.

'By religion, then', says Frazer, 'I understand propitiation or conciliation of powers superior to man which are believed to direct and control the course of nature and of human life. Thus defined, religion consists of two elements, a theoretical and a practical, namely, a belief in powers higher than man and an attempt to propitiate or please them. (Malinowski 1993[1911-1913]: 160)

Propitiation from Frazer's mouth.

This attitude is the expression of immensely complicated psychic processes, for whose determination we would have to know a number of ideas and emotional and subjective factors. (Malinowski 1993[1911-1913]: 161)

How do you peer into the reflective processes of speakers and hearers? Or ascertain whether they have established common sentiments?

The relationship between a clan member and his totem is marked by various facts aside from this. The members of each clan wear their hair arranged in imitation of their totem. (Malinowski 1993[1911-1913]: 176)

Interesting in its own right. Was this included in the anthrpology of hair? What's the haircut like for the thunder clan?

At that time ten to fifteen men, dressed in their bison skins, begin a dance, in which the movements and sounds of these animals are imitated, performing it until they are completely exhausted. When one of the dancers is totally exhausted, he staggers out of the dance; at that time one of the warriors standing around the dance shoots him with his bow and a blunt arrow. And so this shot dancer falls onto the ground, and his companions drag him outside of the circle of dancers; immediately someone else takes his place, and thus the dance lasts without a break until the result has been achieved, that is, until the moment when the warriors set on lookout give word that the bison have arrived. Throughout the duration of the dance a drum is beaten and there is singing and shouting; all this is done in order to attract the animal more strongly. (Malinowski 1993[1911-1913]: 177)

Abusing natural curiosity?

The existence of ceremonies so similar among peoples so far apart and under conditions so different, as those that hold sway in Australia and North America, demonstrates that the are an expression of certain deeply seated characteristics of human nature, whose further examination and analysis would undoubtedly shed interesting light on both aspects of these ceremonies, the economic and the magico-religious. (Malinowski 1993[1911-1913]: 178)

Fundamental tendencies, basic instincts, innate trends.

But the most interesting and best known form of the plastic representation of totems in the American north-west is the totem pole. This is a wooden log, often of immense size, on which is carved, from top to bottow, figures of animals and people, alternately, as a representation of the totemic ancestors of a man. These poles can be of two types. Either they stand near the home, and in that case they are another form of deraldic sign, or they house the ashes of a dead man, and in that case they are a kind of tomb and statue at the same time. (Malinowski 1993[1911-1913]: 180)

Did not know they were used for that.

As I have repeatedly mentioned above, the survey of totemic phenomena provided by Frazer is a compendium of descriptions drawn from sources and repeated in crudo, just as the author found them. It is simply a compilation, accomplished with great erudition, very worthwhile for study, but not digested and not grasped within a theoretical framework. (Malinowski 1993[1911-1913]: 184)

Questions to be asked of PC. Are the representative anecdotes well-digested? Are they grasped within a self-consistent theoretical framework?

Because it is written beautifully and is full of interesting digressions, it reads easily, but it is difficult to assimilate and by no means is it easy to digest the material contained therein conceptually. (Malinowski 1993[1911-1913]: 184)

Look who's talking!

Criticizing and rejecting the theories of McLennan, Westermarck, and Durkheim on the origins of exogamy, and more or less accepting the views of Morgan, Frazer develops his own related theory as follows. According to Frazer, exogamy aros, as a conscious reform, introduced at a time when the people were found in a state of 'promiscuity', which in general means that they had no regulated cohabitation. The purpose of this reform, accomplished by some primitive but wise lawgivers, was the prevention of incest. For Frazer accepts that disgust over incest had developed and was very distinct before the introduction of this reform. (Malinowski 1993[1911-1913]: 185)

It would be a feat to put the controversy between Malinowski, Spencer and Durkheim this plainly. The central focus being the checking of impulses.

Frazer himself clearly understands and admits that this could not be the result of the savages' consciousness of some sort of biological laws with which not even contemporary scholars are entirely in agreement; nor, even less, had some moral ideas, which are always the result of a social state of affairs, ever caused it. (Malinowski 1993[1911-1913]: 185)

The intuitiveness of primitiveness.

Every theory of this type, when given in an abridgement deprived of the strength of detailed arguments and factual material cited to support it, must lose something and seem weaker than it is in essence. But Frazer's theory does not improve much when read in extenso. (Malinowski 1993[1911-1913]: 185)

The test to which PC should be put. Abridgement - (granual) selection. In extenso - in context.

Despite this, it could have value as a pure hypothesis, if it opened broad theoretical horizons, if it were possible in light of this to group facts in some sort of new, organically connected manner. (Malinowski 1993[1911-1913]: 186)

Ditto. Turn the curiosity shop into a multidimensional map.

And so, to choose one of the least important factors of social mingling and to say 'in this case conscious reform was the exclusive cause of everything that happened' - is worse than to say nothing. (Malinowski 1993[1911-1913]: 186)

Controversial. If this were turned against him and it shown plainly how he subverted the good-willed manual of conversation towards social vices and rhetorically argued against estoblished theory of symbolism, we'd also have to ask if this was better than nothing?

[...] - this fundamental question thus suggests itself to us: are the differences basic or superficial? Is the collection of features which we consider to be full and pure totemism only arbitrarily and artificially constructed by us? (Malinowski 1993[1911-1913]: 187)

Same with salutations and conversations vs formulae and a flow of language. Are these "pure sociabilities" all that pure and social? Aren't we leaving something out when we censure, for example, talking while smoking?

The first step is to give a definition, describing the term 'pure totemism' for others. The manner in which Frazer approaches this is also naive to a certain degree. He simply seeks the 'most primitive' of peoples, among whom we encounter totemism, and he considers the form found there to be 'typical' and 'pure'. (Malinowski 1993[1911-1913]: 188)

"I have chosen the above from a Savage Community, because I wanted to emphasize that such and no other is the nature of primitive speech." (PC 8.3)

In the evolution of humanity frazer finds totemism's greatest merit to be the creation of clan solidarity, which could be considered the basis for every social organization. On this point Frazer's theoretical considerations on totemism as a sociological and psychological phenomon ends, on its relationship to related social phenomena, on its value for the evolution of the social organization and culture - absolutely everything which the author had to say about this phenomenon, except for some specific problems of its 'origins'. As is evident, it is a bit too little. (Malinowski 1993[1911-1913]: 189)

The fundamental principle of national politics. Clan solidarity was elsewhere (here) defined as stemming from ceremonies and whatever else. Critical analogy continues with Malinowski's own scarce attention paid to psychological connection (unions, bonds, ties), and it may be noted that the relevance of PC for other socio-cultural systems (diplomacy, literature, health care, service encounters, etc.) were realized by other people much later on when the concept itself had transformed into something else than it originally was.

This biological aspect of Frazer's theory would be extremely interesting and place the whole viewpoint in a completely different light, if not for the fact that it hangs completely in midair, for it is based on biological facts about which we know nothing, and which can only be the subject of conjecture. (Malinowski 1993[1911-1913]: 191)

This is the case of instinct, to which even the brightest minds sometimes fall prey.

But, for the moment, I would like to demonstrate that even on the grounds of Frazer's theory and even while precisely accepting his presentation of the problem, his views produce a number of internal contradictions and do not explain the entire mass of phenomena which, according to the author's assumptions, they should explain. (Malinowski 1993[1911-1913]: 192)

Such as the constellations of meaning conveyed by an unarticulateh sign, the deep insight and inspiration found in the intllectual outlook of another, and the entire gamut of recreational pastimes humans enjoy under label "social".

He considers his explanation to be genetic, and as such we must give it an even lower critical rating. (Malinowski 1993[1911-1913]: 194)

Critic's gonna critic.

The deeper we delve into the nature of sociological facts, the more clearly we see that there is no direct and obvious continuity of development between the individual and the social phenomenon. Social groups are not created by a simple summarization or generalization of individual phenomena. Beliefs, regulations, customs, and ideas concerning the behaviour of individuals having no influence on social life can become the basis for forming groups only by way of a complicated process of social interaction. (Malinowski 1993[1911-1913]: 195)

This started off sounding like yet another tirade against collective consciousness and for radical empiricism, but I'm not actually sure what's the point here.

Malinowski, Bronisław 1993[1912a]. Tribal male associations in Australia. In: Thornton, Robert J. and Peter Skalník (eds.), The Early Writings of Bronisław Malinowski. Translated by Ludwik Krzyżanowski. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 201-208. [Original in slightly faulty English. Bulletin International de l'Academie des Sciences de Cracovie: Classe de Philologie, Classe d'Histoire et de Philosophie, nos. 4-6, 56-63. Simultaneously published in Polish as 'Plemienne związki mȩżezyzn w Australii'. Sprawozdania z Czynności i Posiedzeń Akademii Umiejȩtności w Krakowie. 1921, t.xvdd, no. 13, pp. 1-15. The translation has been improved by the editors with reference to the Polish version.]

All the uninitiated (women and children, and exceptionally the few strangers present) are strictly excluded. (Malinowski 1993[1912a]: 202)

Hence why young Indie's meeting of Malinowski is so strange: a stranger is made a part of the initiation rite, which is partly fused with a report on kula visits.

We must lay stress on the fact, that our information as to this point is scanty; we know very little about it, the ceremonies of the highest degrees being kept a profound secret by the aborigines. (Malinowski 1993[1912a]: 203)

Also why ethnographers are not good evaluators of native metaphysics.

The importance of age, as a principle of social differentiaton, has been fully shown by H. Schurtz in his well known work Alterklassen und Männerbünde. (Malinowski 1993[1912a]: 205)

Source of "uneducated classes" and/or "bonds of union"? Sadly behind the language barrier.

The whole life of a male, after he leaves his parents fire circle, goes to create bonds of clan or group relationship, as the result of the various functions of the class. On the contrary the daily life with his family, before initiation, attaches him with bonds of individual kinship to his father, mother and other personal relatives. (Malinowski 1993[1912a]: 206)

Thus the importance of the bonds of fellowship.

These remarks furnish the sociological raison d'être of the Australian tribal societies, showing them to be necessary in the social organization of the Australian communities. (Malinowski 1993[1912a]: 206)

How is this different from Giddings' activity of the social mind?

Nevertheless each institution is somehow reflected in the collective ideas of the community, especially if expressed in external, palpable forms, as ceremonies or rites. The initiation ceremonies are likely to be the objects of collective ideas. We cannot, however, assume the latter at will, but must infer them methodically from facts. Some rites express certain ideas very plainly; it is allowable to suppose that the meaning of these rites is clear for the savages themselves. The supposition becomes certitude when it has been ascertained by the observer that the natives themselves formulate this meaning. (Malinowski 1993[1912a]: 226)

Having to do with the limits of the ethnographer's knowledge. Meanings, ideas, objects. Note that the natives themselves do not formulate the meaning of pure sociabilities, and is instead lifted from a Western conversation manual.

Malinowski, Bronisław 1993[1912b]. The economic aspects of the intichiuma ceremonies. In: Thornton, Robert J. and Peter Skalník (eds.), The Early Writings of Bronisław Malinowski. Translated by Ludwik Krzyżanowski. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 209-227. [Originally published in English. Feshschkrift tillegnad Edvard Westermarck i anledning av hans femtioårsdag den 20 november (Helsingfors: Simelli, 1912), pp. 81-108.]

And then it must always be borne in mind that stress is to be laid much more on the quality of labour and on the psychological conditions under which it is performed (full sense of importance, attention, scrupulousness, concentration) than on the mere quantity of labour involved. (Malinowski 1993[1912b]: 213)

Qualities of genuine conversation.

From the other forms of religious and magical ceremonies found in these tribes the intichiuma are sharply distinguished by their association with seasons, with the breeding of animals or the development of plants; in short by their general aim of promoting the supply of useful things, an aim intrinsically economic, and generally recognized as such by the natives. (Malinowski 1993[1912b]: 218)

The difference between social and pseudo-social.

Labour, as required in civilized economic enterprises, must essentially possess certain qualities: it must be systematic, done according to [p. 225] some rational plan; it must be continuous, done for a certain length of time, and periodically repeated at regular intervals; it presupposes social organization and required forethought, constant self restraint and renewed volitional and intellectual effort. These qualities are indispensable to every kind of serious productive work, whether we take the workman in a big factory, the agricultural labourer, the clerk in an office, the student or the artist on his way to perfection. The savage is not capable of such labour. His attitude at work approaches much more nearly our attitude at play or sport. If we look through the statements on this subject which have been collected by Bücher and Ferrero, we see that such psychological acts as self-constraint, attention, mental effort are especially difficult for the savage. In all cases in which he endures prolonged exertion, as in war, dancing, hunting, and some highly skilled and elaborate technical achievements, certain elements like play, excitement, ecstasy, intoxication, rhythm can be pointed out - elements which act as stimuli and either supersed or render unnecessary free volitional effort. (Malinowski 1993[1912b]: 224-225)

Crucial piece. Note that gardening is the primary example of futility. The incapability of psychological acts requiring "exact meaning" is familiar enough but the lack of necessity of effort is an important aspect that should be driven further. In a sense it connects futility with the topic of ease (of mental effort).

Malinowski, Bronisław 1993[1913c]. The relationship of primitive beliefs to the forms of social organization. In: Thornton, Robert J. and Peter Skalník (eds.), The Early Writings of Bronisław Malinowski. Translated by Ludwik Krzyżanowski. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 229-242. [Original in Polish. 'Stosunek wierzeń pierwotnych do form organizacji społecznej. Teorya totemizmu'. Sprawozdania z Czynności i Posiedzeń Akademii Umiejȩtności w Krakowie, 18(8) (1913): 9-18.]

All of these functions have a common characteristic feature: they all fulfil the role of integrating, and welding the clans into a tribal whole. As a matter of fact, all of these are external functions regulating the relationships of clans with one another and the relationship of the clan to the tribe, rather than regulating relationships within the clan. And in this way they join the clans into a tribal unity. (Malinowski 1993[1913c]: 235)

Integration is one of the activities of the social mind.

This may be formulated from the psychological point of view by saying that religious ideas arise everywhere that man acts and thinks under the influence of strong emotional factors. (Malinowski 1993[1913c]: 236)

Is this not Durkheim's thesis? And does PC not weaken these emotional ties?

Food also plays an important role in religion as a holy banquet, which is the basic ritual in many religion,s and as a sacrifice, a universal form for religious cults closely linked with the holy banquet. (Malinowski 1993[1913c]: 236)

The word is communion.

Again it is evident that in this interpretation it is necessary to grasp what there is in common in a given group of phenomena, to emphasize general and basic things and not accidental and isolated ones. (Malinowski 1993[1913c]: 240)

Sociability and conversation vs interjections and anything meaningless.

Malinowski, Bronisław 1993[1914]. A fundamental problem of religious sociology. In: Thornton, Robert J. and Peter Skalník (eds.), The Early Writings of Bronisław Malinowski. Translated by Ludwik Krzyżanowski. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 243-246.

Such questions are, as a rule, the most difficult to settle, because only an overwhelming amount of evidence gathered with the very problem in view allows of an unequivocal answer. In anthropology the mutual co-operation of the theorist and of the field-worker is essential in all such cases. (Malinowski 1993[1914]: 243)

Context, in extenso.

Malinowski, Bronisław 1993[1913-14]. Sociology of the family. In: Thornton, Robert J. and Peter Skalník (eds.), The Early Writings of Bronisław Malinowski. Translated by Ludwik Krzyżanowski. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 247-267. [Originally published in German. 'Soziologie der Familie'. In Die Geistwissenschaften, 1 (1913-14): 883-6; 33: 911-14; 1080-2.]

The question of the present status of the investigations on the sociology of the family presents some difficulties. The sociological research on the family is as yet not very uniform. Its study has been influenced by very heterogeneous interests, it has been executed according to diverse methods, and the points of departure of the investigations have had very little in common. It is no wonder that the results do not combine into a uniform picture but present a rather variegated mixture. (Malinowski 1993[1913-14]: 247)

The case of the curiosity shop.

Aristotle deduces the community from the family in the Ancient sense, and the state from the community. The power of the state is a derivative of the paternal authority. In modern times numerous historians, sociologists, and legal historians have accepted this theory. (Malinowski 1993[1913-14]: 250)

This (scheme of family → community → state) is indeed the result of the activity of the social mind in Giddings, for example.

The primitive family essentially resembles the Roman family as it is inferred in its primordial form from the oldest documents and traditions; with the despotic authority of the father which he exercises lifelong over his sons, their wives and children, his unmarried daughters as well as over his male and female slaves. (Malinowski 1993[1913-14]: 250)

This is what the word "patriarchy" conjures up in most, though not in modern feminists, who have a more ambiguous referece to systemic issues in mind when they use this word (i.e. "a system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it).

Marriage in our sense and the duty of chastity did not exist then, rather complete promisquity [Hetärismus] prevailed. This was also the reason why originally there could be no question of a patriarchy, and why even later after mankind had left the level of complete promisquity, maternal succession and matriarchy continued to exist. Only later when promisquity had disappeared, mankind emerged from gynaegocracy to pass to paternal consanguinity and patriarchy. (Malinowski 1993[1913-14]: 252)

This is where Malinowski works out the theory of matriarchy which is evident in Argonauts whenever women and sexual relations are concerned. There's a palpable sense of setting things in stone here which will be reflected in his later works.

However, his analysis of the social relations appeared from the sociological standpoint exceedingly inadequate and superficial, his reasoning is fanciful and lacks method. (Malinowski 1993[1913-14]: 252)

Notice that in the definition of PC, esecially in the peripatetic functions portion, Malinowski does not rely on his usual comparative method, which would have led him to quite different conclusions, but on his own fancy ("It would even be incorrect, I think", "I think that", "There can be no doubt").

McLennan ascribes a very great significance to the killing by exposure of new-born girls, which he postulates as a common practice for the primitive hordes. The direct result was supposed to be an excess of males. The scarcity of women, however, was connected with their superior position which corresponds with Bachofen's gynaecocracy. (Malinowski 1993[1913-14]: 253)

This is like the Scandinavian gender paradox: when you relieve social pressures for gender conformity the outcome will be a more gender steretypical society because natural tendencies get a free expression. Here it turns out that in a matriarchal society there's actually a scarcity of females because they are competing for power, while men, the workers and tools, are reproduced as such.

On the other hand his association with the natives developed in him a kind of sociological instinct with the help of which he could discover much through his direct contact with the Indians [p. 254] that remains closed to sociologists who derive their material at second hand. Indeed he opened certain classes of facts to knowledge which until then were either unknown or had not yet been observed and discovered, and which are still in the forefront of scientific interest. (Malinowski 1993[1913-14]: 253-254)

The myth of ethnographic discovery. PC was not discovered this way.

The investigations begun by Bachofen, McLennan and Morgan have been intermittently continued by a number of very important scholars, and in some respects considerably further developed. The pioneer of the English anthropological school, Lord Avebury (Sir John Lubbock), was an adherent of these views. (The Origin of Civilisation and Primitive Conditions of Man; 'On the development of relationships'. (Malinowski 1993[1913-14]: 255)

Search "relationship" for interesting results in Lubbock's books.

A similar position is also taken by the more popular socialist authors Engels (Der Ursprung der Familie), Katsky (Die Entstehung der Ehe und Familie) and Bebel (Die Frau und der Sozialismus) in whom the communist ideal for the future must have influenced their views about the past. (Malinowski 1993[1913-14]: 257)

Replace "the past" with "the present" and you have an apt statement about many current researchers. Actually, it's worse than that: a view of the present based on views about the past maligned by communist ideals for the future.

Precisely because we are so much closer to those facts, it is much more difficult for us to grasp them impartially and objectively. To see a phenomenon sharply and completely, we must be outside it. [...] There also exist a large number of works which in a more or less journalistic style, and with a more or less openly avowed moral purpose, portray the family ideal and analyse family relations. (Malinowski 1993[1913-14]: 264)

The position of the observer. Perhaps part of the problem in the critical dimension of PC. This is particularly true for explicitly journalistic uses (I've gathered some few phatic tropes from current Estonian journalism).

The state interferes more and more with the educational functions of the parents and controls the moral and hygienic guidance of the children. Also the dependence of women on their husbands is strongly modified. With the growing economic independence of women, their ability to gain their livelihood by their own work and on their own responsibility has increased and thus the strongest bond which formerly tied them to their husbands has been loosened. On the other hand, the domestic activity of women has lost much of its importance and indispensability, while the cheapness and ease with which the family can provide itself with the necessary products has decreased the functions of the housewife even more. (Malinowski 1993[1913-14]: 267)

This exact sad-song is heard still today.

It is also consistent with William James' 'pragmatism'. This link was originally pointed out by Edmund Leach (1957: 121) who surmised that these ideas must have come from James. The knowledge of his dissertation on Mach shows clearly that they came directly from Mach (Paluch 1981b, Flis 1988, Gellner 1987: 54). Nevertheless, William James did visit Mach in 1880 (Lowie 1947: 65-68), and probably had an influence on many other German-trained American anthropologists such as Franz Boas and Robert Lowie (Lowie 1947; Manicas 1987: 213, 227-231). (p. 271; note 19)

The world was small enough already by then.

Bth William James and John Dewey drew on Mach. This probably explains the similarity between Dewey's and Malinowski's theoretical positions. Edmund Leach (1957: 121) believed, erroneously, that Malinowski 'found this body of theory in the Pragmatism of William James'. Dewey also remarked on the similarity himself (1929: 169), citing Malinowski extensively and including several long excerpts in an addenda to his Paul Carus Lectures of 1925 (published in 1929). Although there is no evidence that Malinowski had read either James or Dewey at this time, he cited Dewey's 1925 work (where Dewey had cited Malinowski) in 'An ethnographic theory of language' (1935: II, 61). (p. 272; note 24)

I'm more interested in the chronology of the interplay between Malinowski's Family and Dewey's Ethics.

Johan Friedrich Herbart (1776-1841). Malinowski refers here to Herbart's theory of apperception which became the basis for an important theory of human learning, and consequently for an influential pedagogical method as well. Herbart argued that learning consisted of the building-up of associations between ideas and experience which formed a complex matrix of 'associations' called the 'apperception mass'. (p. 275; note 11)


Malinowski's quote is apparently intended as a summary. Mach wrote 'When we look over a province of facts for the first time, it appears to us diversified, irregular, confused, full of contradictions [...] When we have reached a point where we can discover everywhere the same facts, we no longer feel lost in this province; we comprehend it without effort; it is explained for us' ('The economical nature of physical enquiry', p. 174). (p. 278; note 39)

Why one should read at least seven books on the same subject.


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