In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, industrialisation in the Western world led to a shift from an agrarian to a “job” based economy, creating employment opportunities that resulted in a tectonic shift in the mechanics of influence within kinship systems in these societies and the associated family formation processes.
In the early twentieth century the Trobriand people were the subject of an in-depth ethnographic study by Bronislaw Malinowski. The anthropologist lived on Mailu Island for several years. He learnt their language and interacted with the islanders daily. His stated aim was to understand the “imponderabilia of everyday life” in the tribe.