Young, Michael Willis

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Type of entity


Authorized form of name

Young, Michael Willis

Parallel form(s) of name

  • Dr Michael W Young

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Description area

Dates of existence

1937 -


Michael Young is a social anthropologist with research interests in Melanesian anthropology, particularly that of Papua New Guinea, and in the history of social anthropology. Between 1966 and 1992 he conducted fieldwork in about a dozen different locations – including Halmahera in Eastern Indonesia and Epi Island in Vanuatu – although his principal focus was Goodenough Island, Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea, about which he has published two monographs and some fifty articles.

Young’s research into the life and works of the founding father of British social anthropology, Bronislaw Malinowski (1884-1942), famous for his pioneering fieldwork in the Trobriand Islands, has resulted in four books and many articles. Young was elected Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia in 1986.

Born in Urmston, Lancashire, Michael Young obtained a BA Hons (1963) and MA (1965) from the University of London, followed by a PhD (1970) from The Australian National University (ANU)and an MA (1970) from the University of Cambridge. During his career at the ANU Research School of Pacific Studies (RSPAS), he was a Fellow (1974-1983), Senior Fellow (1983-1998), and latterly a Visiting Fellow (1999+).

As a consultant anthropologist, Young undertook four studies in eastern Papua New Guinea: a Social Impact Study for Oil Palm plantations in Milne Bay, Mullins Harbour and Buhutu Valley (1981); a Socio-Economic Impact Study for the Wapolu Gold Mine, Fergusson Island (1987); a Sociological Survey of Woodlark Island relating to ‘Logging versus Conservation’ (1990); a Social Mapping Study of South Normanby Island for a possible gold mine (1992).


New Guinea

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Anthropologist ; Academic

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Prepared by Christine Bryan on 10 March 2014. Biographical history written by Michael Young in March 2014




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