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Bronislaw Malinowski 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 and theoretical knowledge about humankind. This classic 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 to social organization, life and meaning, the power of magic, and mythology and folklore. Following Malinowski, we are soon “paddling on the lagoon, watching the natives under the blazing sun at their garden work, following them through the patches of jungle. And on the winding beaches and reefs, we shall learn about their life.” The life we learn about is both Trobriand life in New Guinea as well as life of common humanity. For nearly thirty years, Waveland Press has made Malinowski’s most famous ethnography available for modern-day students and readers at a reasonable price. Both the current print version and the ebook have been greatly enriched by 80 digitally enhanced historic photographs and maps.
Subject: Social Sciences -> Anthropology -> Cultural Anthropology