“There are now only a small handful of professional anthropologists still alive in active practice who heard the gospel of British social anthropology as it was originally preached by the founding fathers Malinowski and Radcliffe-Brown, and I am one of those. At a superficial level I am simply concerned to take a backward look at what these masters of my subject had to say on the subject of law. But I ought to emphasise from the start that my viewpoint is prejudiced. I was a direct pupil of Malinowski and whatever I may say in criticism of his attitudes must be understood against the background fact that I consider him the greatest and most original of all social anthropologists.
By contrast, I have never had any admiration for Radcliffe-Brown. Both in the flesh and in his writings he seemed to me to be something of a fraud. What he had to say in terms of theory was a crudely oversimplified version of the less interesting part of Emile Durkheim’s general argument, while nearly all the ethnographic evidence which he cited, including that relating to the Australian Aborigines concerning whom he claimed special professional expertise, was borrowed from other people, though sometimes the borrowings were unacknowledged. But this is a personal view. Both men had the charismatic quality that attracts passionate discipleship.”
Leach, E. 1977. Custom, Law, and Terrorist Violence. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. pp. 5-6.
(Source: mmmyra-cat)2 notes