• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Richard Thurnwald, an understudied AustrianGerman anthropologist and sociologist, was known for his comparative studies of social institutions. He was a pioneer in every sense of the word: the first German language ethnologist to do serious fieldwork (in German New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and neighboring areas in Melanesia and Micronesia) and the first to collect a great number of artifacts from this area.

Thurnwald did path-breaking ethnographical, folkloristic, economic, anthropological, and linguistic research. Although he was, in theoretical terms, a functionalist, he paid more attention to history than did Bronislaw Malinowski (1884–1942). Thurnwald viewed social anthropology from a paradigm that suggested studying social institutions comparatively to better understand their differences and how these differences discerned the essential function of each institution. By making comparisons of functional ...

Loading
  • Loading...
locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles