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Return from the Natives$
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Peter Mandler

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780300187854

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300187854.001.0001

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From the South Seas (to 1939)

From the South Seas (to 1939)

(p.1) Chapter 1 From the South Seas (to 1939)
Return from the Natives

Peter Mandler

Yale University Press

This chapter traces Margaret Mead's roots and her early works on the Samoan natives. Born in Philadelphia, Mead was raised in an intellectual household, with her father an economics professor, her mother a sociology graduate, and her grandmother a career schoolteacher. She finished her Bachelor's degree at Barnard College in New York and then completed her Master's in anthropology at Columbia College. In 1925, Mead left to begin fieldwork in Samoa, where she found that the physiological changes in humanity were handled differently than in America. The result of her fieldwork in Samoa was a book titled Coming of Age in Samoa, which became an essential read for the study of anthropology. Mead detailed that although the Samoan casualness about the nature and speed of adolescent development reduced the “pain,” this “shallow” affect was less likely to produce adult personalities of great intensity.

Keywords:   anthropology, Margaret Mead, sociology, adolescent development, Samoa, adult personalities

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