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BEROSE ENCYCLOPAEDIA

Westermarck, Edward (1862-1939)

Edward Westermarck, an anthropologist of Finnish origin, marks the transition to modern anthropology. Often forgotten, or reduced to the status of Malinowski’s master at the London School of Economics, he combines an evolutionary sensibility of Darwinian influence with bold views on a number of subjects, such as marriage, feminism and sexuality, including homosexuality. Among other major works, including several monographs on Morocco, resulting from his intensive field work, he published his magnum opus, Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas between 1906 and 1908. His legacy, particularly as an unexpected precursor to ethical relativism, has been the subject of several reappraisals.

Keywords: Social and cultural anthropology | Evolutionism | Ethnography | United Kingdom | Finland | Morocco | Family and kinship | Sexuality | Cultural relativism | Marriage | Homosexuality | Moral/ethical | Bronislaw Malinowski | London School of Economics