International Encyclopaedia
of the Histories of Anthropology

Australian anthropologist and psychologist Ralph O’Reilly Piddington (1906-1972) was one of the leading figures in the academic affirmation of anthropology, particularly in New Zealand since 1949. He was particularly interested in the relationship between those two disciplines, dealing with subjects such as Aboriginal mythology and dreams, culture and neurosis, or laughter. In addition to Malinowski-style functionalism, he was a supporter of the “anthropology of action”, engaged in the fight for the rights of indigenous peoples, including the Maori, by means including the teaching of their language. He is the author of the two-volume reference book, An introduction to Social Anthropology (1950-1957).

Keywords: Social and cultural anthropology | Applied anthropology | Psychology | Functionalism | New Zealand/Aotearoa | Australia | Australian studies | Polynesian studies | Maori

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