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Malinowski, Bronislaw (1884–1942)

The Polish-born British anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski was a professor at the London School of Economics and an early exponent of extensive systematic field research and empathetic study of small-scale traditional societies. He was a pioneer of the functionalist approach to anthropology, in which society is seen as serving the biological and psychological needs of its members, the individual becoming the focus of anthropological study rather than institutions.

Born on April 7, 1884, to parents of upper-middle-class standing in Krakow, Poland, then still part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Malinowski early on determined to follow in the footsteps of his father, a professor of folklore at Jagiellonian University in Krakow. At Jagiellonian, Malinowski studied mathematics and physical sciences, receiving a doctorate in 1908. Shortly thereafter, as Malinowski later ...

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