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An analysis of present day social structure in the Trobriand Islands

Powell, H.A.; (1957) An analysis of present day social structure in the Trobriand Islands. Doctoral thesis , University of London. Green open access

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The Thesis attempts to analyse and define the Trobriand system of kinship and rank as the structural basis of social organisation amongst the population of the northern half of Kiriwina Island. It is envisaged as supplementary to Malinowski's published data, which are freely used in the analysis in conjunction with original material. Beginning, with a general survey of ecological and demographic factors, the focus of analysis narrows to an examination in terms of --ship and marriage of the social relations of the population of a cluster of five villages (Chapter I). The relationships of the members of a single local descent group and village are then examined intensively, attention is finally focussed on a single marriage. From this analysis emerge problems which suggest the desirability of a theoretical interpretation of Trobriand kinship and marriage relations different from that developed by Malinowski (Chapter II). An attempt is then made to formulate a set of concepts and a methodological approach that will resolve these problems with reference to the Trobriand material (Chapter III). Certain concepts are developed, not as general theories of kinship or social structure, but only as specific hypotheses valid for the analysis of the Trobriand material, although it is hoped that further research may reveal that the methodology has some general utility. The conceptual approach thus developed is then applied to the analysis of the Trobriand system of kinship and rank relations and specifically to the terminology of kinship (Chapter IV). Finally the significance of the system thus analysed as the structural basis of Trobriand social organisation is examined, first in the context of elementary family relationships and marriage, and working outwards to the social interaction of the Trobriand population in general, against the background of the ecological and demographic factors examined in the opening stages of the Thesis (Chapter V).

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: An analysis of present day social structure in the Trobriand Islands
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by British Library EThOS
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1349494
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