Gunnar Landtman

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Gunnar Landtman (to the left) doing fieldwork in Papua New Guinea.

Gunnar Landtman (6 May 1878, Helsinki – 30 October 1940, Helsinki) was a Finnish philosopher as well as a sociology and philosophy professor. A pupil of Edvard Westermarck, he graduated from the University of Helsinki in 1905. He later became an associate professor there from 1910 to 1927 and then a temporary professor until his death in 1940. Landtman was the first modern sociological anthropologist. His most important journey was a two-year trip to Papua New Guinea where he lived with the Kiwai Papuans from 1910 to 1912. He was from 1922 to 1924 a member of the Parliament of Finland, where he represented the Swedish People's Party of Finland (SFP).


  • The Origin of Priesthood (1905)
  • The Primary Causes of Social Inequality (1909)
  • Wanderings of the Dead in the Folk-Lore of the Kiwai-speaking Papuans (1912)
  • The Poetry of the Kiwai Papuans (1913)
  • The folk-tales of the Kiwai Papuans (1917)
  • The Pidgin English of British New Guinea (1918)
  • Papuan Magic in the Building of Houses (1920)
  • The Kiwai Papuans of British New Guinea: A Nature-born Instance of Rousseau's Ideal Community (1927)
  • A Descriptive Survey of the Material Culture of the Kiwai People (1937)
  • The Origin of the Inequality of the Social Classes (1938)