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“The family among the Australian aborigines, a sociological study” – Bronislaw Malinowski
The family among Australian Aborigines was written by Malinowski and is based on compiling existing literature about the life of indigenous Australians. The author based his writings on giving a detailed analysis of the family institution among the native Australian’s and when writing the purpose of his work, he explains that he wishes to use the correct terms in reference Australians actual life in the family unit. Though his work presents the low cultures of the Aboriginal societies, he uses an approach that is against the studies conducted by evolutionists. The framework used in his works rests on opposition between speculations and facts. From the beginning of his works, describes and collects facts and conceptions of the past evolution theorists. It is evidence that the major attention was given to the speculations on primeval conditions and survival but not on the social mechanisms. The author also states that he would avoid making hypothetical assumptions or giving an overview of the overall evolution or family origin (Bronislaw 20). His theoretical framework was also based on refuting claims by the past authors because their claims were on archaic human development form and they ruled out possibilities of individual family life. His work gave an analysis of kinship in Australia since it is an important aspect for survival of marriages. For instance chapter four of the text analyses the work of Frazer and Gillen whereby the author tries to establish that contrary to their claims on ceremonies customs that act as license for sex should not be used as evidence for the current marriage practices.
His theoretical framework is used to bring out the politics of marriage. According to (Bronislaw 167), there is evidence of universal existence of marriage. The universal nature of marriage is supported by the fact that there is a connection between small children and in fact since universally they are attached and have a close relation with man and woman. He further notes that the woman is the children’s mother since she gave birth to them while the man is her husband and their father. The politics of marriage in this argument comes about when he stresses that kinship should be determined by individuals families and it is the only condition that should determine parental kinship in all societies (Bronislaw 199). The documented aborigines are contradictory especially when it comes to the issue of marriage. According to Gillen and Spencer, individual families made of man and wife exists but the opposite could also be true. His criterion connects to family conflicts in the larger context since there are many published materials that speak of the same topic about marital relationships. There are also politics in the issue of procreation whereby some Australian countries do not understand that children are as a result of sexual intercourse and that there are stones that enter the women bodies and come out as children (Bronislaw 209).
The book is fascinating not only through the ideas and methodological rules that but by the way he develops an analysis on the way that studies on kinship should be conducted. The author made an affirmation of how he viewed individual families in a nearly universal way and insists that differences in the forms of family and marriage should be looked at since the phenomena of kinship is different depending on the society conditions. Additionally, he is keen on noting that although individual families are present in all societies, there are variations depending on the social context. His theoretical framework is based on criticizing the works of other authors. The book devotes much time in analyzing the question on how psychological paternity is ignored. Lastly, the author has paid much attention of the works of other authors and at the same time believes that others are making wrong assumptions. It would have been better if he conducted more research in order to prove that others are wrong or right.
Malinowski, Bronislaw. Family Among the Australian Aborigines: A Sociological Study (Classic reprint). Library of Alexandria, 2015.