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Coming of Age in Samoa Paperback – January 1, 1971
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Top Customer Reviews
Coming of Age in Samoa is Margaret Mead's first publication. It launched a career that made Mead one of the most famous anthropologists in American history. I find this book interesting in two ways: historically and stylistically.
Coming of Age in Samoa is historically interesting in that it represents one culmination of the conflict between cultural and biological anthropology. Mead was a student of anthropologist Franz Boas, a famous advocate of "nurture" over "nature." Mead borrowed and expanded Boas' ideas, and many cultural anthropologists still cite her work as evidence that a person's cultural upbringing--not his genetic makeup--accounts for most of his personal development.
Anthropologists that valued "nature" over "nurture" did not dig. Mead's claims were big, bold, and well-received.
But Boas' opponents (or his opponents' students and their students' students) were able to breath easy once Derek Freeman, an Australian anthropologist, published a book refuting Mead's findings. Freeman accused Mead of conducting sloppy fieldwork, approaching her subject with predetermined conclusions, and refusing to correct her work after its publication. In response, Mead supporters accused Freeman of attacking Mead personally rather than professionally. While they disagreed about the quality of Freeman's own fieldwork, these critics all thought that he could have written his critique with more tact and civility.
Coming of Age in Samoa is stylistically interesting in that it targets a general audience. Some sections seem to come from a travelogue, others from a novella.Read more ›
there were lots of errors and misprints on the pages
Would not recommend downloading
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I had to read this book for an essay I was writing, but I did not think I would enjoy it. I figured it would be the kind of book you half heartidly read because you have no choice. Read morePublished on August 29, 2001 by Dawn Hadfield