Functionalism in Anthropology

Man, living under conditions of culture, obtains his bread indirectly through cooperation and exchange. He has to procure it in complicated economic pursuits. Culture,therefore, creates new requirements for implements, weapons, and means of transport, for social cooperation, for institutions that can ensure a normal and local ordering of human groups which allow organized cooperation - B. Malinowksi

Characteristics of Functionalism in regards to human culture

  • Malinowski receives credit for this school of thought; he worked in the South Pacific and studied exchange theories
    • Malinowski insisted that ethnographers adopt the native's perspective
  • Arrived on the scene in the 1920s
  • Human behaviors form functions for human survival
    • system of objects, activities, and attitudes that states every part exists as a means to an end
    • organized around the important tasks (i.e. family, the tribe, local community) and organized teams for various social institutions for economic cooperation and social institutions' benefits