Morton College Malinowski Documentary Questions Response


Discussion Question:

  • What single most significant element of your own culture would you NOT be willing to “report” to someone “studying” your culture or group?
  • Identify where YOUR resistant is rooted? (Emotional pride? Crisis of identity? Out of respect for elders or parents? Peer pressure? sense of loyalty?)
  • Explain what you fear the consequences would be to you, your culture, and/or to the audience learning about it.

  • Tales From the Jungle: Malinowski Documentary
  •[ignore the Spanish title, you are on the correct website]
    1. What did the personal diary of Malinowski reveal about himself when it came to light in 1967?
    2. “In the popular (Victorian English) mind, a savage was someone who was . . .”?
    3. However armchair anthropologists and European society saw themselves, the “savages” were going to be seen as what, in comparison?
    4. In reply to the claim that Australian Aborigines did not have families, Malinowski argued that anthropology lacked rigor and needed what? . . . in order to rid itself of bias?
    5. What did Malinowski learn from attending the Trobriand Island ceremony of Yoba, where the spirits of the ancestors (the baloma) were sent back to a sacred afterworld, which contradicted the reports he had always been told?
    6. What was the kula voyage about? Why was it treated as such a big deal among the different island participants, despite being time consuming and dangerous, all for something that seemed pointless?
    7. When Malinowski published his ethnography, Argonauts of the Western Pacific in 1922, what “fresh perspective” did it reveal of “savage” natives?
    8. Malinowski’s comparison of the crown jewels in Edinburgh Scotland being similar to the Kula necklace:
      a.) acquiring them was equal to our . . .
      b.) shamanism and magic was similar to our . . . ?
      c.) Maori tattoos were similar to our . . . ?
    9. Malinowski’s “functionalism” is the realization that all human cultures had a purpose, and that rituals were established for what essential purposes or passions?
    10. Look back at the answer to question 1, Malinowski’s outbursts in his private journals—as they were published in 1967—is revealing of the opposite reflexive mirror of anthropology: that just as what people say they do isn’t always what they actually do, but also who they are (including the researcher) isn’t always what they are imagined to be. Despite the innovations he brought to Anthropology, Malinowski was, nonetheless, “a prisoner of his own _______ and _________”.

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