Argonauts of the Western Pacific: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Argonauts of the Western Pacific

1st Edition

By Bronislaw Malinowski


542 pages

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pub: 2014-04-04
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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.


'No writer of our times has done more than Bronislaw Malinowski to bring together in single comprehension the warm reality of human living and the cool abstractions of science.' - Robert Redfield

'A contribution of the first rank to anthropological and sociological liteature.' Economica

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

About the Author

Bronislaw Malinowski (1884-1942), author of Argnonauts of the Western Pacific (1922) is still regarded as a pioneer anthropologist. Lecturing in both the UK and USA before and after the outbreak of the Second World War, he established himself as one of the most important anthropologists of the twentieth century.

About the Series

Routledge Classics

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General