Coming of Age in Samoa: A Psychological Study of Primitive Youth for Western Civilization (Illustrated) [NOOK Book]

Overview

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 1928, 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 was the most widely read book in the field of anthropology, until ...
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Coming of Age in Samoa: A Psychological Study of Primitive Youth for Western Civilization (Illustrated)

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Overview

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 1928, 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 was the most widely read book in the field of anthropology, until Napoleon Chagnon's "Yanomamö: The Fierce People" took the lead in sales. 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.

In the foreword to Coming of Age in Samoa, Mead's advisor, Franz Boas, wrote of its significance that, Courtesy, modesty, good manners, conformity to definite ethical standards are universal, but what constitutes courtesy, modesty, good manners, and definite ethical standards is not universal. It is instructive to know that standards differ in the most unexpected ways.

Boas went on to point out that at the time of publication, many Americans had begun to discuss the problems faced by young people (particularly women) as they pass through adolescence as "unavoidable periods of adjustment." Boas felt that a study of the problems faced by adolescents in another culture would be illuminating.

Mead described the goal of her research: "I have tried to answer the question which sent me to Samoa: Are the disturbances which vex our adolescents due to the nature of adolescence itself or to the civilization? Under different conditions does adolescence present a different picture?" To answer this question, she conducted her study among a small group of Samoans — a village of 600 people on the island of Ta‘ū — in which she got to know, lived with, observed, and interviewed (through an interpreter) 68 young women between the ages of 9 and 20. She concluded that the passage from childhood to adulthood (adolescence) in Samoa was a smooth transition and not marked by the emotional or psychological distress, anxiety, or confusion seen in the United States.

Mead concluded that this was due to the Samoan girl's belonging to a stable, monocultural society, surrounded by role models, and where nothing concerning the basic human facts of copulation, birth, bodily functions, or death, was hidden. The Samoan girl was not pressured to choose from among a variety of conflicting values, as was the American girl. Mead commented, somewhat satirically: "... an American girl's father may be a Presbyterian, an imperialist, a vegetarian, a teetotaller, with a strong literary preference for Edmund Burke, a believer in the open shop and a high tariff, who believes that women's place is in the home, that young girls should wear corsets, not roll their stockings, not smoke, nor go riding with young men in the evening. But her mother's father may be a Low Episcopalian, a believer in high living, a strong advocate of States' Rights and the Monroe Doctrine, who reads Rabelais, likes to go to musical shows and horse races. Her aunt is an agnostic, an ardent advocate of women's rights, an internationalist who rests all her hopes on Esperanto, is devoted to Bernard Shaw, and spends her spare time in campaigns of anti-vivisection. Her elder brother, whom she admires exceedingly, has just spent two years at Oxford." All of these things confuse American females about an individual path to choose.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940015683455
  • Publisher: Balefire Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/20/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 335
  • Sales rank: 300,699
  • File size: 15 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Margaret Mead (December 16, 1901 – November 15, 1978) was an American cultural anthropologist, who was frequently a featured writer and speaker in the mass media throughout the 1960s and 1970s. She earned her bachelor degree at Barnard College in New York City, and her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University.

She was both a popularizer of the insights of anthropology into modern American and Western culture and a respected, if controversial, academic anthropologist. Her reports about the attitudes towards sex in South Pacific and Southeast Asian traditional cultures amply informed the 1960s sexual revolution. Mead was a champion of broadened sexual mores within a context of traditional western religious life.

An Anglican Christian, she played a considerable part in the drafting of the 1979 American Episcopal Book of Common Prayer.

During World War II, Mead served as executive secretary of the National Research Council's Committee on Food Habits. She served as curator of ethnology at the American Museum of Natural History from 1946 to 1969. She was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1948. She taught at The New School and Columbia University, where she was an adjunct professor from 1954 to 1978. She was a professor of anthropology and chair of the Division of Social Sciences at Fordham University's Lincoln Center campus from 1968 to 1970, founding their anthropology department. Following Ruth Benedict's example, Mead focused her research on problems of child rearing, personality, and culture. She served as president of the American Anthropological Association in 1960. She held various positions in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, notably president in 1975 and chair of the executive committee of the board of directors in 1976.

Mead was featured on two record albums published by Folkways Records. The first, released in 1959, An Interview With Margaret Mead, explored the topics of morals and anthropology. In 1971, she was included in a compilation of talks by prominent women, But the Women Rose, Vol.2: Voices of Women in American History.

She is credited with the pluralization of the term "semiotics."

In later life, Mead was a mentor to many young anthropologists and sociologists, including Jean Houston.

In 1976, Mead was a key participant at UN Habitat I, the first UN forum on human settlements.
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  • Posted January 12, 2013

    This is the biggest rip off and Barnes & Noble should be str

    This is the biggest rip off and Barnes & Noble should be strung up by their collective toes! This "book" is nothing more than a scan of a very marked up paperback with the bottom lines of each page missing. Not even worth the $.99 I paid for it. Too bad I couldn't give it half a star. DO NOT BUY THIS RIP OFF!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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