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His magnum opus, Argonauts of the Western Pacific, published in 1922, in which he describes the Kula ring (a complex interisland exchange of arm shell bracelets and necklaces), is one of the first modern ethnographies.
In September 1939, shortly after Germany invaded Poland, he was a visiting professor at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.
When Germany invaded Poland in 1939, he was advised by the director of the LSE to stay in the United States, continuing as a lecturer and conducting fieldwork in Oaxaca, Mexico.
His best known works include his classic book Argonauts of the Western Pacific (1922) as well as Crime and Custom in Savage Society (1926), The Sexual Life of Savages in North-Western Melanesia (1929), and the posthumously published Magic, Science, and Religion and Other Essays (1948).
Malinowski helped develop the field of anthropology from a primarily evolutionary focus into sociological and psychological fields of enquiry.
Living with the people he studied, getting to know them personally, participating in their activities, and conducting his research in the vernacular has since become known as participant observation.
His collection of monographs and numerous articles on the Trobriand Islanders is perhaps the most extensive ethnography of any people written to date.
A more complete yet far less detailed biography is Urry 2004. Discussion of his early influences and life by Polish scholars can be found in Thornton and Skalník 1993 and Ellen, et al. Assessments of his intellectual development and contributions to anthropology are Stocking 1995, which focuses on his Trobriand Island experiences and the development of functionalism; Kuper 2015, which assess Malinowski’s position in British social anthropology; and Firth 1957, a compilation of essays each assessing his contribution in different areas of anthropology.
Bibliographies can be found in Murdock 1943; Firth 1957; and Ellen, et al.
His mother was from a cultured landowning family and an accomplished linguist in her own right.
He was frail, often sickly in his childhood, and thus at various intervals during his attendance of Kracw's King John Sobieski public school and, later, university, he was forced to slow down and take time off for the sake of his health.