Margaret Mead Study in Samoa Ashiya.B
About Margaret Mead • Mead was born on December 16, 1901 • She was a Cultural Anthropologist. • CulturalAnthropologist: A specialist in the subfield of anthropology that focuses on human cultural behaviour, cultural systems and the variation in cultural expression among human groups. (1) • Mead was an energetic spokesperson regarding human rights and social issues including women's rights, child development and education • Most of her books focused on such matters as well as issues that concern gender roles in early cultures and Society. • She also worked on interpreting world events and trends of American Society, in a cultural anthropological way.
Mead’s Study in Samoa • Females were brought up by mothers for most of their life up until their adult years. Boys on the other hand were brought up by their mothers as well as their fathers, so they had the advantage of a more aggressive and sociable personality in areas such as Samoa. • Mead spent 9 months living in Samoa and Samoan families, and through her research she observed that Samoan life was very different than that of American culture only because girls grew up in that kind of lifestyle. • Coming of Age in Samoa (1928) is the book Mead had written in relation to her findings in Samoa. • The book has much to do with the Nature Nurture debate with the adolescents of Samoa. • She found that culture and environment were more significant in the development of characteristics and human behaviour than that of heredity and genes.
Theory Relating to Aggressive Behaviour in Youths • Margaret Mead was one who was completely against the theory that males were more dominant and powerful than females. • In her Study in Samoa, Mead concluded that dominance was not based upon sex differences, but in fact were based on the cultural upbringing of the youths in different societies. • She observed that on average boys were more aggressive, and egocentric than girls in such cultural upbringings
Change or Development of Aggression from Mead’s Perspective • Mead was an active commentator back in the days of WWII. Her perspective’s of such violent events can also relate to those of youth behaviour in today’s society. • Aggression from Mead’s point of View is more of a response rather than a type of behaviour, but these responses are in proportion as to how one feels in certain situations. • For example, a school fight. If a student gets hit, he/she will do one of two things ; • Hit Back or Leave It alone (response) • How they came upon their response depends on how they feel about the whole situation. i.e.; cowardice, disrespect, hatred.
Violence in Youths... • Recent studies and cases show that there is an increase in youth violence, and that most of these incidents are between boys. • Mead pointed out that male violence is more likely to occur than that of female violence. • In her book Male and Female she called this issue "the recurrent problem of civilization.“ • From a cultural view Mead’s analysis of this issue would be that for centuries males have been the one’s to “hunt”, whether its the hunting of animals or the current killing of other humans, the majority of these events were done by males.
Nature vs. Nurture - Mead’s Perspective • In 1933, Mead made her great discovery that "human nature is flexible". She had witnessed three specific cultures; Arapesh, Mundugumor and the Tchambuli. • Each culture displayed different gender role qualities. • In one culture both the women and men were cooperative • In the second they were both ruthless and aggressive • In the Tchambuli culture the women were dominant and the men more passive. • Due to these findings, Mead was one of the first people to propose that masculine and feminine characteristics that reflected cultural conditioning (or socialization) not fundamental biological differences.