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MARGARET MEAD AND SAMOA: The Making and Unmaking of an Anthropological Myth

DEREK FREEMAN. Harvard University Press • Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England 1983

Contents -

Preface xi

I The Emergence of Cultural Determinism

1 Galton, Eugenics, and Biological Determinism 3

2 Boas and the Distinction between Culture and Heredity 19

3 The Launching of Cultural Determinism 34

4 Boas Poses an Intractable Problem 50

II Mead's Samoan Research

5 Mead Presents Boas with an Absolute Answer 65

6 Mead's Depiction of the Samoans 82

7 The Myth Takes Shape 95

III A Refutation of Meads Conclusions

8 The Historical Setting of Mead's Research 113

9 Rank 131

10 Cooperation and Competition 141

11 Aggressive Behavior and Warfare 157

12 Pagan and Christian 174

13 Punishment 191

14 Childrearing 200

15 Samoan Character 212

16 Sexual Mores and Behavior 226

17 Adolescence 254

18 The Samoan Ethos 269

IV Margaret Mead and the Boasian Paradigm

19 Mead's Misconstruing of Samoa 281

20 Toward a More Scientific Anthropological Paradigm 294

Notes 305

A Note on Orthography and Pronunciation 361

Glossary 363

Acknowledgments 367

Index 371


Following page 178

The islands of Ofu and Olosega viewed from Luma on the island of Ta'u. Photo by the author.

The island of Ta'u at about the time of Mead's stay there in 1925-1926. Courtesy of the Bishop Museum.

The naval medical dispensary on Ta'u. Photo by the author.

A Samoan round house. Photo by the author.

A taupou, or ceremonial virgin. Photo by the author.

Franz Boas in 1906. Courtesy of the Bettmann Archive, Inc.

Ruth Benedict in about 1925. Courtesy of the Vassar College Library.

Margaret Mead in the late 1920s. Courtesy of the Bettmann Archive, Inc.

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