Argonauts of the Western Pacific


Considered the first modern ethnography,[4] Argonauts of the Western Pacific redefined the ethnographic genre.[5] Adam Kuper, in his seminal 1973 book on British social anthropology, begins his analysis with Malinowski's status as the founder of the discipline:

"Malinowski has a strong claim to being the founder of the profession of social anthropology in Britain, for he established its distinctive apprenticeship -- intensive fieldwork in an exotic community."[6]

Many other anthropologists also trace the fieldwork mandate back to Malinowski, including Murray Wax:

"In the final analysis, the major credit for discovering the technique of intensive personal fieldwork among a single people must go to Bronislaw Malinowski (1884-1942). His researches among the Trobriand Islanders during the years 1916-18 yielded a series of epochal volumes which revolutionized the content and practice of anthropology."[7]

Today, Argonauts of the Western Pacific is the archetypal account of anthropologists' "following the people" method of collecting information for a multi-sited ethnography.[8]

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