Margret Mead: A Literature Review

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The early 20th century marked a transition away from the 19th century unilineal evolutionary ideas and belief of primitive static cultures that dominated anthropological theory at the time (Erickson and Murphy 2013, 63). New theoretical frameworks emerged that changed the way people perceived the world around them under the influence of American, French, and British schools of thought (Erickson and Murphy 2013, 69). At this time, American cultural anthropology was starting to form as an academic discipline under the direction of Franz Boas and his students, commonly known as the Boasians. Boas initiated salvage anthropology, the process of empirically documenting culture groups before they lost their identity, and became completely assimilated…show more content…
Mead is accredited as an advocate of cultural relativistic thinking, a feminist, and an early psychological anthropologist. She progressed the understanding of the relationship between culture and personality, studying how individuals contribute to culture and in turn culture shapes the individuals through a psycho-analytic approach (Erickson and Murphy 2013, 73). In 1928 Mead published, Coming of Age in Samoa, an ethnographic account of 68 girls’ experiences with adolescences in three different villages in the western region of Ta’u of…show more content…
Derek Freeman Australian ethnographer, wrote Margret Mead and Samoa: The Making and Unmaking of an Anthropological Myth (1982), and The Fateful Hoaxing of Margret Mead a Historical Analysis of her Samoan Research (1999), where he claimed that Mead did not study the Samoan history, ignored the presence of sexual violence, glamorized the Samoans view of sex and peace, and that her work was only a product of Boas’ influence (Erickson and Murphy 2013, 75). Additionally, Samoan chief published, Coming of Age in American Anthropology; Margaret Mead and Paradise, that critiques mead for depicting Samoa in alight that makes them look less developed and more simplistic as a society than in actuality (Margaret Mead
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