Alfred Radcliffe-Brown

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Alfred Reginald Radcliffe-Brown (January 17 1881October 24 1955) was an British social anthropologist who developed the theory of Structural Functionalism, a framework that describes basic concepts relating to the social structure of primitive civilizations.

Radcliffe-Brown was born in Sparkbrook, Birmingham, England. He was seen as the classic to Bronislaw Malinowski's romantic. Radcliffe-Brown brought French sociology (namely mile Durkheim) to British anthropology, constructing a rigorous battery of concepts to frame ethnography. Although he often rejected it, Radcliffe-Brown was associated with functionalism, specifically considered to be the founder of structural functionalism. While Malinowski was attributed with the methodological foundations of anthropological fieldwork, Radcliffe-Brown was attributed with developing a sophisticated functionalist theoretical framework.

Radcliffe-Brown also contributed extensively to the anthropological ideas on kinship.

After studying at Trinity College, Cambridge, he travelled to the Andaman Islands (1906-1908) and Western Australia (1910-1912) to conduct fieldwork into the workings of the societies there, serving as the inspiration for his later books The Andaman Islanders (1922) and The Social Organization of Australian Tribes (1930).

In 1916 he became a director of education in Tonga, and in 1920 moved to Cape Town to become professor of social anthropology, founding the School of African Life. He was later professor at the universities in Sydney, Chicago, and Oxford.

Greatly influenced by the work of mile Durkheim, he saw the aim of his field to study primitive societies and determine generalizations about the social structure. For example, he saw institutions as the key to maintaining the global social order of a society, analogous to the organs of a body, and his studies of social function examine how customs aid in maintaining the overall stability of a society.

Radcliffe-Brown was often criticized for failing to consider the effect of historical changes in the societies he studied, in particular changes brought about by colonialism, but he is now considered, together with Bronislaw Malinowski, as the father of modern social anthropology.

He died in London.

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fr:Alfred Reginald Radcliffe-Brown ja:ラドクリフ=ブラウン pl:Alfred Radcliffe-Brown

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