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Malinowski and the Work of Myth

by Bronislaw Malinowski, Ivan Strenski

ISBN 0691020779 / 9780691020778 / 0-691-02077-9
Publisher Princeton Univ Pr
Language English
Edition Softcover
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Book summary

Bronislaw Malinowski (1884-1942) was a wide-ranging thinker whose ideas affected almost every branch of the social sciences. And nowhere is this impact more evident or more persistent than on the study of myth, ritual, and religion. He articulated as never before or since a program of seeing myths as part of the functional, pragmatic, or "performed" dimension of culture - that is, as part of activities that did certain tasks for particular human communities. Spanning his entire career, this anthology brings together for the first time the important texts from his work on myth. Ivan Strenski's introduction places Malinowski in his intellectual world and traces his evolviong conception of mythology. As Strenski points out, Malinowski was a pioneer in applying the lessons of psychoanalysis to the study of culture, while at the same time he attempted to correct the generalizations of psychoanalysis with the cross-cultural researches of ethnology. With his growing interest in psychoanalysis came a conviction that myths performed essential cultural tasks in "chartering" all sort of human institutions and practices. [via]