Bronislaw Kaspar Malinowski Sociology YouTube Lecture Handouts

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Bronislaw Kaspar Malinowski

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  • Born in Poland, Germany
  • Social Anthropologist
  • Structural functionalist
  • One of the founding Father of Social Anthropology
  • Other is R. Brown
  • British Social Anthropology
  • Creating separate functionalist schools

Work and Contributions

  • PhD: On the Principle of Economic Thought
  • The Family among the Australian Aborigines: A Sociological Study
  • Crime and Custom in Savage Society
  • Coral Gardens and their Magic
  • A Scientific Theory of Culture
  • Sex and Repression in Savage Society

Inspired from Frazer

Magic, Science and Religion and other essays

  • Worked on various topics like:
    • Family and kinship
    • Marriage
    • Religion and magic
    • Crimes and customs
    • Trobriand Islanders in South Pacific
  • Scientific and historical perspective
  • Father of Functionalism – integrated whole, working together
  • Functional approach
  • More emphasis on actions of individuals
  • Unlike other functionalists like Durkheim or Brown who laid more emphasis on society

Views on Culture

  • Material and non-material culture to fulfil needs
  • Like social, religious, economic, art, language, etc.
  • All needs are interrelated and related to humans
  • Culture is self-dependent and total in itself
  • It is based on unity and integration to satisfy needs of the society
  • “Change in one aspect of culture will bring change as a whole.”

Arguments Behind Functionalism

  • Every aspect of culture has a function
  • To satisfy the needs of the society
  • Three types of needs:
    • Primary – biological
    • Instrumental- institutions which help achieving primary needs like law, marriage
    • Integrative help the society to cohere eg. Religion

Area of Study

  • How the psychological needs of individuals are served by social institutions
  • Methods of science integrated with cultural data
  • Complementary to each other
  • Participant observation, ethnographic diary writing, field research
  • “Static documentation by concrete evidence.”


  • “Inherited artifacts, goods, technical process, ideas, habits, and values.” – Malinowski
  • Social structure as a part of culture
  • Need to study use of customs
  • Sociological heritage of man related to culture


Q. 1. With reference to Malinowski՚s theory of cultural integration, choose the best option (s) :

a) Any culture or trait which has lost its importance will not survive in the society

b) Cultural trait are interrelated and should be studied in integration

c) He called the combined study of cultural trait as integrated whole

d) He was of the same opinion as evolutionists


i. a and b

ii. b only

iii. d only

iv. a, b and c

Answer: iv

Q. 2. Match the items in List – I with the items in List – II and choose the right answer from the codes given below:

List – I

(a) Malinowski

(b) Durkheim

(c) Parsons

(d) Merton

List – II

(i) Pattern variables

(ii) Postulates of functional analysis

(iii) Collective consciousness

(iv) Biological need-based functionality


(a) (b) (c) (d)

(A) (i) (ii) (iii) (iv)

(B) (ii) (iii) (i) (iv)

(C) (iii) (iv) (ii) (i)

(D) (iv) (iii) (i) (ii)

Answer: (D)

#Sociological Theories





0: 00 Bronislaw Kaspar Malinowski

0: 20 Introduction of Malinowski

1: 12 Work and Contributions of Malinowski

2: 16 Perspective and approach

3: 10 Views on culture

4: 37 Arguments behind functionalism

5: 49 Area of study

7: 05 Conclusion

8: 26 MCQ about Malinowski

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