Margaret Mead

[pdf] Draft Kinseyan Anthropology by Judith Reisman

The Fateful Hoaxing of Margaret Mead by Derek Freeman
Margaret Mead and Samoa: The Making and Unmaking of an Anthropological Myth by Derek Freeman

Freeman retraced Mead's skimpy time in the out-of-the-way islands of Manu'a in the mid-1920s and documented her ďanthropological fieldwork" as an
anthropological fantasy designed to delight her mentors, Boaz and his student and one of Meadís later lovers, Ruth Benedict. Like most--or allóof 190 or so of the ivy-league student anthropologists included in the Ford and Beach study, Mead said she spoke the native language (Samoan) fluently, yet in actuality she knew only a few phrases.
Freeman found that as Samoans customarily joke and inflate talk of sexual behavior, in answer to Meadís questions about their sexual lives, her young
Christian Samoan girl companions, laughingly told her they had wild, uninhibited promiscuous childhood sex, which led to their Island paradise of free sex with no jealousy and no rape. As a Mead aficionado, Freeman found, after several years of field-work in Samoa, that jealousy and rape were not uncommon and a girlís virginity was critical for marriage. Despite being published by Harvard Press, Freeman was pilloried by those in the anthropological field, most of whom still quote Meadís bad research. The refusal to accept an iconís exposure is a standard academic (human) response across all academic disciplines.[pdf] Draft Kinseyan Anthropology by Judith Reisman

Margaret Mead's 1928 Coming of Age in Samoa, a report of her anthropological study of adolescent girls and a triumph of cultural relativism, firmly established her as a guiding voice of anthropology. Her work was mostly unquestioned during her lifetime, but in 1983 anthropologist Derek Freeman released a critical review of her work, showing that her assertion that adolescence in Samoa is easier because of free sexuality (upon which she based her nurture-over-nature theories) is in conflict with the facts of Samoan life and even with her own field notes. He suffered insult and approbation from nearly every member of the scientific establishment, to whom Mead was a hero and a saint, but he has rejoined the fray, perhaps to finish it, with The Fateful Hoaxing of Margaret Mead.
    This scholarly review examines all of the primary sources related to Mead's fieldwork and the important 1987 recanting of one of her informers. Forcefully written and carefully constructed, Freeman's book shows that Mead's stay in Samoa was too brief and too consumed with a much larger ethnographic project to have accumulated much data on adolescent sexuality. Her need to finish the project and her fervent belief in culturalism then led her to accept the joking references of her two closest informers about free sex as truth. Careful to make it clear that his focus is on Mead's science, Freeman shows that it is extremely unlikely that Mead deliberately falsified her report, simply that her preconceptions blinded her to inconvenient facts. Given the impressive evidence arrayed here, it's hard to see how Mead's work in Samoa can be now viewed as anything but a pretty fable. --Rob Lightner --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. [1999]REVIEW: The Fateful Hoaxing of Margaret Mead: An Historical Analysis of Her Samoan Researches by Derek Freeman

In my early work I had, in my unquestioning acceptance of Mead's writings, tended to dismiss all evidence that ran counter to her findings. By the end of 1942, however, it had become apparent to me that much of what she had written about the inhabitants of Manu'a in eastern Samoa did not apply to the people of western Samoa...Many educated Samoans, especially those who had attended college in New Zealand, had become familiar with Mead's writings about their culture...[and] entreated me, as an anthropologist, to correct her mistaken depiction of the Samoan ethos. ----Derek Freeman