Whither-Progress

Where we’ve been and where we’re going

Posts Tagged ‘derek freeman’

Margaret Mead and Samoa

Posted by 4hiram on March 24, 2008

The Samoa Caper

Introduction


Derek Freeman’s Margaret Mead and Samoa: The Making and Unmaking of an Anthropological Myth (1983) touched off the most extended–and intractable–controversy in anthropology’s history. Mead’s Coming of Age in Samoa: A Psychological Study of Primitive Youth for Western Civilization (1928) was an anthropological classic read by many students in many countries over many years. As the title hints, her study is a lesson on how we, living the conflicts of advanced culture, can ease them by learning something from the low-stress social relations of a ‘primitive’ society where individualism and the nuclear family are absent. We can in some measure imitate them, particularly in sexuality, where Samoan adolescent girls are unfettered by taboos.

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