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His ethnography of the Trobriand Islands described the complex institution of the Kula ring, and became foundational for subsequent theories of reciprocity and exchange.He was also widely regarded as an eminent fieldworker and his texts regarding the anthropological field methods were foundational to early anthropology, for example coining the term participatory observation.25.) However, in reference to the Kula ring, Malinowski also stated, in the same edition, pp.83–84: Yet it must be remembered that what appears to us an extensive, complicated, and yet well ordered institution is the outcome of so many doings and pursuits, carried on by savages, who have no laws or aims or charters definitely laid down.From 1933 he visited several American universities, and when World War II broke out he decided to stay there, taking an appointment at Yale.There he stayed the remainder of his life, also influencing a generation of American anthropologists.
It was during this period that he conducted his fieldwork on the Kula ring and advanced the practice of participant observation, which remains the hallmark of ethnographic research today.This book turned his interest to ethnology, which he pursued at the University of Leipzig, where he studied under economist Karl Bücher and psychologist Wilhelm Wundt. In 1914, he travelled to Papua (in what would later become Papua New Guinea), where he conducted fieldwork at Mailu Island and then, more famously, in the Trobriand Islands.In 1910, he went to England, studying at the London School of Economics under C. The ethnographic collection he made on the Trobriand Islands is now held by the British Museum.That year his book Argonauts of the Western Pacific was published.It was widely regarded as a masterpiece, and Malinowski became one of the best-known anthropologists in the world.