Margaret Mead 1901-1979 "To cherish the life of the world..."
Margaret Mead is a world famous Anthropologist • Born in Philadelphia PA in 1901 • Studied Anthropology at Bernard College • Continued studies for PH.D at Columbia university
Her most famous work is Coming of Age in Samoa (1928)on "the psychological attitude of the individual under the pressure of the general pattern of culture" to relate Samoan adolescents to those of the United States. • While studying the culture she stayed with an American family in the naval dispensary on Ta’u • She did extensive research and kept numerous field notebooks and diaries of all her observations, from small notes to diagrams of their homes. • She related her studies wondering are the attitudes of the adolescents due to “nature or nurture” • What she discovered was that the behaviors and attitudes/personalities of these subjects was more influence by their culture, than genetics.
Margarets’ second most famous research is Growing Upin New Guinea (1930) which is a continuance of her research in Samoa. • This research , though still looking at adolescents, focused on the thought process of children. • She studied the Manu tribe in New Guinea • She found that the children were forced to grow up and learn quickly. They had to learn how “swim, maintain balance, and paddle a canoe” the only skills they were not taught were those for their own well being. • Mead felt though they were learning to be adults is did not prepare them for a real adult life.
Margaret conducted research to see how children learned by having the adolescent boys and girls of the tribe draw pictures. • After collecting many pictures she noticed that there was a difference in the way the males and famales thought, because the males would draw more “realistic” artwork about scenery or animals or something important to them. The females on the other hand drew with color and drew more designs then specific objects. • From this observation she then wanted to test the children with ink blots to see if there was a difference in results between the males and famales. • What she found was they all related the blots to items in their culture, such as animals and when they couldn’t find something to relate they called it a ““Tchinalisa "land devil"” which the adults made to threaten the children.
Other famous writings of Margaret Mead. • Sex and Temperament 1935 • Male and Female 1949 • Growth and Culture 1951 • Blackberry Winter 1972 • Letters from the Field 1978
Works Cited • http://anthropology.usf.edu/women/mead/margaret_mead.htm • http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/mead/field-samoa.html • http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/mead/field-manus.html