Dr Milan Stuchlik died suddenly on 22 December 1980 at the age of 48. He started his academic career in Czechoslovakia which he left in 1968 to do fieldwork among the Mapuche of Chile whose results he published in his book Life on a Half Share (1976) and numerous papers. Events in his native country made him stay in Chile after he completed his fieldwork. He was appointed Professor of Anthropology at the University of Concepcion and later Professor and Head of Department of Social Anthropology at the Queen’s University of Belfast where he taught first as a Lecturer and later Reader until his untimely death. He threw himself wholeheartedly into the life of the department, and he was not only instrumental in shaping its teaching programme but first of all in defining its overall research interest and theoretical orientation which found its outlet in the Queen's University Papers in Social Anthropology.

Although he had been active in this country for only seven years, his influence on many young and older British anthropologists alike has been seminal. He had been well acquainted with British anthropological tradition before he came to the United Kingdom, but it was probably his having been trained outside this tradition which led to his strongly critical attitude towards much of its practice. His main interest has always been in problems of anthropological methodology and theory, and over the past years he was systematically developing an approach to the study of human phenomena based on operationalizing the basic assumption that human structures, which he completed last summer, will also regrettably never be written up.

His brilliantly logical mind, his obsessive insistence on analytical rigour and his biting sense of humour seemed often off-putting to those who did not know him well. Those who were fortunate enough to be closely associated with him, whether as his students, colleagues or friends, benefited greatly from him for precisely these qualities. He was a rarely unselfish man, and in the way of scholarly guidance and stimulation he gave not only his students, but his colleagues as well, much more than they have ever been able to give him. It is tragic that the life of such a promising scholar should be cut short so suddenly, and that his death prevented him from leaving in print more of his imaginative and stimulating ideas.

L. Holy

This obituary first appeared as: Holy, L.. 1981. 'Obituary'. RAIN, No. 43, p. 20 Reproduced with permission.


To cite this article:

HOLY, L.. 1981. 'Obituary'. RAIN, No. 43, p. 20 (available on-line: