Culture is an integral composed of partly autonomous, partly coordinated institutions. Human beings are an animal species. They are subject to elemental conditions which have to be fulfilled so that individuals may survive, the race continue and organisms one and all be maintained in working order.
Thus, not merely antrhopology, but the Study of Man in general, comprising all the social sciences, all the new psychologically or sociologically oriented disciplines, may and must cooperate in the building of a common scientific basis, which perforce will have to be identical for all the diverse pursuits of humanism.
The analysis just outlined, in which we attempt to define the relation between a cultural performance and a human need, basic or derived, may be termed functional.
For function can not be defined in any other way than the satisfaction of a need by an activity in which human beings cooperate, use artifacts, and consume goods. As we shall show, organization implies a very definite scheme or structure, the main factors of which are universal in that they are applicable to all organized groups, which again, in their typical form, are universal throughout mankind.
London; Oxford; New York: To construct a theory is to sum up the relevancy of past observation and to anticipate empirical confirmation or rebuttal of theoretical problems posed. It is integrated on a series of principles such as the community of blood through procreation; the contiguity in space related to cooperation; the specialization in activities; and last but not least, the use of power in political organi-zation.
Each culture owes its completeness and self-sufficiency to the fact that it satisfies the whole range of basic, instrumental and integrative needs.
The essential concept here is that of organization. Yet this very definition implies another principle with which we can concretely integrate any phase of cultural behavior.
As a theory of basic needs, and a derivation of instrumental and integrative imperatives, scientific anthropology gives us the functional analysis, which allows us to define the form, as well as the meaning, of a customary idea or contrivance.
The minimum definition of science, therefore, implies invariably the existence of general laws, a field for experiment or observation, and last, but not least, a control of academic discourse by practical application.
In order to achieve any purpose, reach any end, human beings have to organize.A Scientific Theory of Culture and Other Essays by Bronislaw Malinowski Malinowski presents in this book his definitive statement of the theory of functionalism.
Bronislaw Malinowski, A Scientific Theory of Culture and Other Essays, New York: Oxford University Press, The University of North Carolina Press, ; reprint,File history Click on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time.
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