Revealing the Rationality of Myth: Contribution of Bronislaw Malinowski

Thumbnail Image
Siedin, Oleksandr
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Th e article is focused on the intellectual signifi cance of the theory of myth developed by prominent Polish anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski within his anthropological approach known as functionalism. Th e author argues that Malinowski already in the fi rst half of the 20th century anticipated the main trend within the later studies on myth. Like many infl uential myth-theorists of the next generations, Malinowski recognized the elements of rationality within mythical thinking. Both his emphasis on the integrity of culture as well as his opposition to diff usionism and evolutionism resonate with the perspective of structuralists in the second half of the 20th century. According to Malinowski, myth and science as the parts of culture serve mainly for the basic biological needs of the human body. Th e more elaborated vision of the functionality of myth has been proposed later in the philosophy of mythology of German poststructuralist Hans Blumenberg. Despite that, Malinowski’s attention to the function of myth refl ected and formed the general tendency of contemporary science of myth. Th is tendency presupposes the "de-archaization" of myth in contrast to the progressivist vision of myth as entirely “irrational” or "paralogical" thinking. Th e author also analyses how the intellectual heritage of Malinowski is used in the recent studies made by contemporary Polish and Ukrainian scholars.
myth, rationality, Malinowski, functionalism, culture, anthropology, article
Siedin O. Revealing the Rationality of Myth: Contribution of Bronislaw Malinowski / Oleksandr Siedin // Studia Polsko-Ukraińskie. - 2021. - Vol. 8. – P. 167-178. -