The Sexual Life of Savages in North-Western Melanesia
Cover of Polish translation of 1938
|Original title||The Sexual Life of Savages in North-Western Melanesia. An Ethnographic Account of Courtship, Marriage, and Family Life Among the Natives of the Trobriand Islands, British New Guinea. London.|
|Translator||Życie seksualne dzikich w północno-zachodniej Melanezji|
The Sexual Life of Savages in North-Western Melanesia (Polish: Życie seksualne dzikich w północno-zachodniej Melanezji) is a 1929 book by anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski. The work is his second in the trilogy on the Trobrianders, with the other two being Argonauts of the Western Pacific (1922) and Coral Gardens and Their Magic (1935).
Malinowski gives a detailed description of the social organisation of sexuality (social rites, partner choice, etc.) "tracing the Trobriand lifecycle from birth through puberty, marriage, and death".
Children do not submit to a system of "domestic coercion" or "regular discipline": they "enjoy considerable freedom and independence". The idea of a child being "beaten or otherwise punished in cold blood" by a parent is viewed as unnatural and immoral and when proposed by westerners (like the anthropologist) is "rejected with resentment". Things are asked "as from one equal to another; a simple command, implying the expectation of natural obedience, is never heard from parent to child in the Trobriands". The event of a person getting angry and striking another person "in an outburst of rage" sometimes happens, as often from parent to child as from child to parent.
In later chapters, the parent-child relationship of the Trobrianders is described with details of their complex matrilineal relationship structure in which the biological parentage is ignored.
- Notes for sessions six and seven on the background and world of Malinowski by William W Kelly
- Malinowski 29, p. xxiii
- Herdt, Gilbert H. Guardians of the Flutes: Idioms of Masculinity
- p. 52–53
- Spiro, Melford E. (1982). Oedipus in the Trobriands. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-76989-5.
- The Sexual Life of Savages in North-Western Melanesia on the Internet Archive
- Bronislaw Malinowski (1929) The Sexual Life of Savages in North-Western Melanesia Book text from Google books.
- Melford E. Spiro Oedipus Redux Ethos, Vol. 20, No. 3 (September 1992), pp. 358–376