During the First World War the pioneer anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski found himself stranded on the Trobriand Islands, off the eastern coast of New Guinea. By living among the people he studied there, speaking their language and participating in their activities, he invented what became known as 'participant-observation'. This new type of ethnographic study was to have a huge impact on the emerging discipline of anthropology. In Sex and Repression in Savage Society Malinowski applied his experiences on the Trobriand Islands to the study of sexuality, and the attendant issues of eroticism, obscenity, incest, oppression, power and parenthood. In so doing, he both utilized and challenged the psychoanalytical methods being popularized at the time in Europe by Freud and others. The result is a unique and brilliant book that, though revolutionary when first published, has since become a standard work on the psychology of sex.
'No writer of our times has done more than Bronislaw Malinowski to bring together in single comprehension the warm reality of human living and the cool abstractions of science.' - Robert Redfield
'The present essay attempts to put Freud's theories to the test by examining them in the light of the mental habits of the harmless Trobrianders ... Some four years' contact with Melanesians, backed by the power to converse with them freely, gives Malinowski the best right to be heard as a reporter of facts which, it must be admitted, would escape nine trained observers out of every ten.' - The Times Literary Supplement
'This work is a most important contribution to anthropology and psychology, and it will be long before our textbooks are brought up to the standard which is henceforth indispensable.' - Saturday Review
'Malinowski altered the whole mode and purpose of ethnographic enquiry.' - Edmund Leach
'From the anthropological point of view at least, it is a pioneering piece of work I believe that [my arguments] raise important issues which will sooner or later have to be considered by the biologist and animal psychologist, as well as by the student of culture.' - Bronislaw Malinowski