Edit Margaret Mead was born on December 16, in Philadelphia, PA and raised in near Doylestown, Pennsylvania by her university professor father and social-activist mother. Not many people knew that her middle name was actually Samaira. She graduated from Barnard College in and received her Ph. Mead set out in to do fieldwork in Polynesia.
In her public career she resolved a set of major conflicting values in American society that afflict the female role. Thus, to the eyes of her audience she occupied successfully the accepted female role of mother and wife, albeit she had several divorces, to the extent that Time magazine referred to her in her later years as the Mother of the World.
But at the same time she had a visibly successful career as an anthropologist, perhaps perceived as more successful by those outside of anthropology than inside. She thus entered the public world of achievement, outside the boundary of the home that prescribes anonymity to most women, and mingled with major figures in science and politics.
As a result, there developed a personality cult around Mead as a culture heroine. Did Mead misrepresent Samoan culture? And what are the implications for anthropological inquiry? These are the questions that I shall attempt to answer in this review. In the mid s it was a raging battle.
In response to Francis Galton, his disciples in the eugenics movement, and their racist camp followers, the Boasian school of American anthropology replied with arguments for cultural determinism.
His arguments have been meticulously researched. These have largely been from those who were associated with Columbia University or who want to claim a Boasian intellectual paternity Weiner ; Harris a, b. And they mainly point out that Boas was also concerned with the biological nature of man as witnessed by his physical anthropological studies.
He writes Harris b: Freeman concludes this section with a discussion of the development of the myth of Samoan culture as presented by Mead and the impact that this had on American intellectual life at the time it was published.
In this regard, the science of ethnography is similar to the sciences of geology and astronomy. The closest one could come to testing the results is to have a second ethnographer in the field in the same village at the same time as the first, or shortly afterwards. But this does not mean that the validity of an ethnographic account cannot be tested.
There are various ways to do this. And Freeman ingeniously uses them all. Freeman arrived in Western Samoa in April Freeman then returned and conducted further ethnographic research from and again in His refutation is thus based on six years of investigation in Samoa and research in archives and libraries that extended on and off over some 40 years.
However, it is important to note that Freeman is not attempting to provide an alternative ethnography of Samoan society in his book. He has been criticized by some of his reviewers for providing a biased and overly negative view of Samoan personality as a result of their misunderstanding the nature of a formal refutation and confusing it with an ethnography.
And he demonstrates that, contrary to Mead, competition for titles is intense, engendering bitter rivalries, and that prerogatives of rank are jealously guarded to prevent any attempt to alter precedence.A second article titled The Margaret Mead and Derek Freeman Debate, written by Ann M. Bender, Trevor Humphries, and Trevor Michael illustrates the ongoing contention brought .
Shankman, a professor of anthropology at the University of Colorado-Boulder, has for several years been doggedly investigating the smearing of Margaret Mead by the anthropologist Derek Freeman.
Anthropologists have been in damage control since Derek Freeman published Margaret Mead and Samoa (). Although Mead had long since ceased to be a research leader, Freeman linked her high standing with anthropology's research paradigm and threw both to /5(5).
Mead, Margaret c The Role of the Individual in Samoan Culture. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute – Mead, Margaret d Samoan Children at . Richard Feinberg "Margaret Mead and Samoa: Coming of Age in Fact and Fiction" American Anthropologist ; Eleanor Leacock "Anthropologists in Search of a Culture: Margaret Mead, Derek Freeman and All the Rest of Us" in Central Issues in Anthropology 8(1): Eleanor Leacock, Anthropologists in Search of a Culture: Margaret Mead, Derek Freeman and All the Rest of Us, Central Issues in Anthropology, 8, 1, (), ().
Wiley Online Library Volume 88, Issue 1.