Social Organization and Laws in the Trobiand Islands

1611 Words Jan 31st, 2018 6 Pages
Regardless of whether it is a civilized society or a savage society, every culture has laws and “there are among the many norms of conduct in savage societies regarded as compulsory obligations of one individual or group towards another individual or group” (Malinowski, 1985, 12). Laws are essential in every culture regardless of “whether ‘savage’ or ‘civilized’ (Malinowski, 1985, 13). Malinowski believed that all societies had laws, rules, and customs that are followed; in addition to hard laws, there are also social morals and obligations that are followed. It may be culture specific, but it exists in all cultures. Malinowski argued that “there is a number of laws, taboos and obligations in every human culture which weigh heavily on every citizen, demand great self-sacrifice, and are obeyed for moral, sentimental or matter-of-fact reasons, but without any ‘spontaneity’” (Malinowski, 1985, 13-14). While there are laws written down to be followed, there are also moral laws that should not be broken; within every society, civilized or not, some do break laws; as a result, there are punishments that come after, some harsher than others.
Malinowski went to study the culture of the Trobriand Islands in Melanesia from 1915 to 1918. In order to grasp an understanding of how a culture works, he believed an anthropologist must live in the society to adequately record how everyday life works and…

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