Coming of Age in Samoa is a book by American anthropologist Margaret Mead based upon her (). "The Samoa Reader: Last Word or Lost Horizon?" ( PDF). Current Anthropology. 32 (4): – doi/ JSTOR Free download of Coming of Age in Samoa by Margaret Mead. Available in PDF, ePub and Kindle. Read, write reviews and more. Coming of age in Samoa; a psychological study of primitive youth for western civilisation by, , W. Morrow & Company edition, in English.
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Psychology suggesfed-that much might be gained by a knowledge of the way in which children developed, of the stages through which they passed, of what the. [xv] COMING OF AGE IN SAMOA INTRODUCTION DURING the last hundred years parents and teachers have ceased to take childhood and adolescence for. COMING OF AGE IN SAMOA amon g the defenceless youth., and worried the least thoug htful among us. In American civilisation., with its many immi grant.
Indian Tribes of Brazil Reads: The houses may not all be within the same part of the village. Book Description Coming of Age in Samoa is a book by American anthropologist Margaret Mead based upon her research and study of youth on the island of Ta'u in the Samoa Islands which primarily focused on adolescent girls. How the Mind Works. For this reason her methodology is one of studying societies in their natural environment.
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Coming of age in Samoa; a psychological study of primitive youth for w Margaret Mead. Want to Read. Coming of Age in Samoa is a book by American anthropologist Margaret Mead based upon her research and study of youth on the island of Ta'u in the Samoa Islands which primarily focused on adolescent girls.
Mead was 23 years old when she carried out her field work in Samoa. First published in , the book launched Mead as a pioneering researcher and the most famous anthropologist in the world. Since its first publication, Coming of Age in Samoa is still the most widely read book in the field of anthropology. The book has sparked years of ongoing and intense debate and controversy on questions pertaining to society, culture and science. It is a key text in the nature vs nurture debate as well as issues relating to family, adolescence, gender, social norms and attitudes.
Throughout history, the way we have perceived sex and procreation has determined our vision of the universe. From the primal notion of Mother Nature being th Many American readers felt shocked by her observation that young Samoan women deferred marriage for many years while enjoying casual sex before eventually choosing a husband.
As a landmark study regarding sexual mores, the book was highly controversial and frequently came under attack on ideological grounds. Although Coming of Age received significant interest and praise from the academic community, Mead's research methodology also came in for criticism from several reviewers and fellow anthropologists.
Mead was criticized for not separating her personal speculation and opinions from her ethnographic description of Samoan life and for making sweeping generalizations based on a relatively short period of study. For example, Nels Anderson wrote about the book: It lacks a documental base.
It is given too much to interpretation instead of description.
Mead forgets too often that that she is an anthropologist and gets her own personality involved with her materials. This criticism is dealt with in detail in the section below. The Making and Unmaking of an Anthropological Myth , in which he challenged all of Mead's major findings. In , he participated in the filming of Margaret Mead in Samoa , directed by Frank Heimans, which claims to document one of Mead's original informants, now an elderly woman, swearing that the information she and her friend provided Mead when they were teenagers was false; one of the girls would say of Mead on videotape years later:.
We girls would pinch each other and tell her we were out with the boys. We were only joking but she took it seriously. As you know, Samoan girls are terrific liars and love making fun of people but Margaret thought it was all true. Another of Mead's statements on which Freeman focused was her claim that through the use of chicken blood, Samoan girls could and do lie about their status of virginity. On this ground, Freeman argued that Mead must have based her account on false hearsay from non-Samoan sources.
The argument hinged on the place of the taupou system in Samoan society. According to Mead, the taupou system is one of institutionalized virginity for young women of high rank, and it is exclusive to women of high rank. According to Freeman, all Samoan women emulated the taupou system, and Mead's informants denied having engaged in casual sex as young women and claimed that they had lied to Mead. After an initial flurry of discussion, many anthropologists concluded that Freeman systematically misrepresented Mead's views on the relationship between nature and nurture, as well as the data on Samoan culture.
According to Freeman's colleague Robin Fox, Freeman "seemed to have a special place in hell reserved for Margaret Mead, for reasons not at all clear at that time".
Moreover, many field and comparative studies by anthropologists have since found that adolescence is not experienced in the same way in all societies.
Systematic cross-cultural study of adolescence by Schlegel and Barry, for example, concluded that adolescents experience harmonious relations with their families in most non-industrialized societies around the world. Adolescents are likely to be rebellious only in industrialized societies practicing neolocal residence patterns in which young adults must move their residence away from their parents.
Neolocal residence patterns result from young adults living in industrial societies who move to take new jobs or in similar geographically mobile populations. Thus, Mead's analysis of adolescent conflict is upheld in the comparative literature on societies worldwide. First, these critics have speculated that he waited until Mead died before publishing his critique so that she would not be able to respond.
However, in , Freeman sent a revised manuscript to Mead, but she was ill and died a few months later without responding. Second, Freeman's critics point out that, by the time he arrived on the scene, Mead's original informants were old women, grandmothers, and had converted to Christianity , so their testimony to him may not have been accurate.
They further argue that Samoan culture had changed considerably in the decades following Mead's original research; after intense missionary activity, many Samoans had come to adopt the same sexual standards as the Americans who were once so shocked by Mead's book.
They suggested that such women, in this new context, were unlikely to speak frankly about their adolescent behavior. Further, they suggested that these women might not be as forthright and honest about their sexuality when speaking to an elderly man as they would have been speaking to a woman near their own age.
Some anthropologists criticized Freeman on methodological and empirical grounds. Their criticism was made formal at the 82nd annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association the next month in Chicago, where a special session, to which Freeman was not invited, was held to discuss his book.
Freeman commented that "to seek to dispose of a major scientific issue by a show of hands is a striking demonstration of the way in which belief can come to dominate the thinking of scholars". In the years that followed, anthropologists vigorously debated these issues.
Much like Mead's work, Freeman's account has been challenged as being ideologically driven to support his own theoretical viewpoint sociobiology and interactionism , as well as assigning Mead a high degree of gullibility and bias.
Freeman's refutation of Samoan sexual mores has been challenged, in turn, as being based on public declarations of sexual morality, virginity, and taupou rather than on actual sexual practices within Samoan society during the period of Mead's research.
In , Martin Orans examined Mead's notes preserved at the Library of Congress , crediting her for leaving all her recorded data as available to the general public. He therefore concludes, contrary to Freeman, that Mead was never the victim of a hoax.
Orans points out that Mead's data supports several different conclusions, and that Mead's conclusions hinge on an interpretive or fabricated, rather than positivist, approach to culture. It included new material, in particular interviews that Freeman called of "exceptional historical significance" and "of quite fundamental importance" of one of Mead's then adolescent informants by a Samoan chief from the National University of Samoa in and and of her daughter in He concludes in the introduction to the book that "her exciting revelations about sexual behavior were in some cases merely the extrapolations of whispered intimacies, whereas those of greatest consequence were the results of a prankish hoax".
Freeman argues that Mead collected other evidence that contradicts her own conclusion, such as a tutor who related that as of puberty girls were always escorted by female family members.
Freeman claims Mead's letters to Boas reflect that she was influenced by studies of sexuality from Marquesas Islands , and that she was seeking to confirm the same information by questioning Fa'apua'a and Fofoa. In Freeman's estimation: Instead, Margaret Mead's account of adolescent sexual behavior in Coming of Age in Samoa and elsewhere was based on what she had been told by Fa'apua'a and Fofoa, supplemented by other such inquiries that she had previously made.
In , a detailed review of the controversy by Paul Shankman was published by the University of Wisconsin Press. It supports the contention that Mead's research was essentially correct, and concludes that Freeman cherry-picked his data and misrepresented both Mead and Samoan culture.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Coming of Age in Samoa Original title page Basic concepts. Case studies.
Chambri Mosuo. Major theorists. Morgan Stephen O. Murray Michelle Rosaldo David M. Schneider Marilyn Strathern. Related articles.
Social Bonding and Nurture Kinship.
See also: A self described heresy. A Century of Women: Citadel Press. Retrieved 29 August How the Mind Works. Retrieved 15 September Margaret Mead disseminated the incredible claim that Samoans have no passions -- no anger between parents and children or between a cuckold and seducer, no revenge, no lasting love or bereavement, Derek Freeman and other anthropologists found that Samoan society in fact had widespread adolescent resentment and deliquency, a cult of virginity.
The Trashing of Margaret Mead: Anatomy of an Anthropological Controversy. University of Wisconsin Press.
Levine 28 May Savage Minds. Retrieved 4 August Coming of Age in Samoa.