Preparing the third edition I had recognised that my book was turning into something of an obituary notice. The project initiated by Malinowski and Radcliffe-Brown underwent a crisis in the 1970s. A different social anthropology emerged in the post-colonial world. Research students who came into the discipline in the 1960s were influenced by structuralism and by the Marxist ideas of the period. They took note of changing fashions in American cultural anthropology, which was going through a transformation of its own. Some were especially influenced by feminist ideas. Others went into new sub-fields, notably medical anthropology, visual anthropology and cognitive anthropology.
The Anthropology/Sociology Department offers students an interdisciplinary program of study leading to a degree with three different emphases or concentrations: Anthropology or Sociology / Social Welfare. Our graduates have found success in a wide variety of professional venues, and we also prepare students who wish to pursue graduate study, research and teaching, or simply enhance their understanding of humans and the societies, cultures and environments in which they live. We’re firmly committed to enhancing the learning and reasoning abilities of students and helping them to view and examine ancient and contemporary societies through the cultural and social prisms that define and shape our disciplines.
Malinowski considered institutions to be examples of isolated organized behaviors. Since such behavior always involves a plurality of persons, an institution in this sense is therefore a social system, which is a subsystem of society. Though functionally differentiated from other institutions, an institution is a segmentary cross-section of culture that involves all the components included in Malinowski's definition of culture (Firth 1957:59). Malinowski believed that the central feature of the charter of an institution is “the system of values for the pursuit of which human beings organize, or enter organizations already existing” (Malinowski 1944:52). As for the concept of function, Malinowski believed it is the primary basis of differentiation of institutions within the same culture. In other words, institutions differ because they are organized to serve different functions. He argued that institutions function for continuing life and "normality" of an organism, or an aggregate of organisms as a species (Firth 1957:60). Indeed, for Malinowski, the primary reference of the concept of function was to a theory of the biological needs of the individual organism: