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Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 124. Biographical Memoirs of Fellows, III$
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P. J. Marshall

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780197263204

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197263204.001.0001

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Raymond William Firth, 1901–2002

Raymond William Firth, 1901–2002

Chapter:
(p.69) (p.70) Raymond William Firth, 1901–2002
Source:
Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 124. Biographical Memoirs of Fellows, III
Author(s):

J. H. R. Davis

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197263204.003.0005

Raymond Firth was an anthropologist, working chiefly in the Pacific, Malaysia and London, in the fields of economics, religion and kinship. Firth held permanent teaching posts at Sydney (1930–2) and at the London School of Economics (1932–40, 1944–68). During the Second World War he served in Naval Intelligence; he became secretary of the Colonial Social Science Research Council in 1944–5, and was a founding member of the Association of Social Anthropologists of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth in 1946. Firth was a patient and generous teacher whose many graduate students remained loyal throughout their lives; he was an able and purposeful administrator of great integrity: no one alive can remember him doing a mean or malicious or self-interested act. In anthropology he was resolutely humane and empirical: his aim was always to convey the variety and complexity of people's experience, and to show how his theory was based on that understanding.

Keywords:   anthropologist, biography, Malaysia, London School of Econimics, Sydney

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