Talk:Margaret Mead

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was the first person to have a spock baby[edit]

she had a daughter that was token care of by benjimann spock she was told that she could not have children but after many time she had catherine mead

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:53, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

Any source verifying this? Slrubenstein | Talk 13:54, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

[out] Yes, this is more or less correct: she was not his first baby, but it was early in his career, before he wrote his book. I added this to article with appropriate citation. Tvoz |talk 09:26, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Sadly, Margaret Mead's interest in good parenting seems to have been almost entirely academic. Her daughter Catherine Bateson has written of her severe loneliness as a child, because her mother often left her with indifferent caregivers. Younggoldchip (talk) 21:28, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

This is not the place to discuss Mead's parenting skills, just how to improve the article. Tvoz/talk 08:55, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

Catherine states in an interview that she is extreamly greatful to the way her mother raised her because it helped to shape her into the person she is today. She only ever has positive things to say about her mother's parenting skills. Also, M.Mead made home videos documenting every early develepmental stage of her daughter as she grew up. She was, in my opinion a great mother and very nurturing. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:35, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Unsigned, it's obvious that numerous videos taken by the parent to "document every early developmental stage" are not the same as a warm, personally involved, caring relationship with the actual child. Any scientist can take videos. And inspite of your own (again, unsigned) opinion about Margaret Mead as "a great mother," the facts were clearly set out in Catherine's autobiography: she was often farmed out to her mother's friends, often felt isolated and afraid. Later contacts with her father were frightening, as his mental deterioration progressed. Catherine has taken the high road in her memoir, when possible, but she has also been honest. A picture emerges of a child who was emotionally neglected by a parent who was obsessed, above all, with her career. And those are the facts. Younggoldchip (talk) 14:47, 8 July 2014 (UTC)

I'd like to second the user who pointed out that Margaret Mead's parenting skills are not relevant to this article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by NomvulaWakaBani (talkcontribs) 13:09, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

I believe Mead's parenting skills are relevant because they contribute to a fuller understanding of a complex woman. Also, she frequently discussed and wrote about parenting in societies which she studied. Younggoldchip (talk) 17:40, 30 December 2016 (UTC)

NPOV? Opposing viewpoints?[edit]

this reads like a hagiography. Mead had plenty of political opponents, academic opponents and so forth. There are plenty of people who deem her legacy to be one of unmitigated disaster, corruption of morals, academic falsehood etc. I wonder why is that not reflected here :) (talk) 22:26, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

I certainly agree. Isnt she even known as a straight out liar in academic circles? Nothing in this article reflects any criticism. - MB

No in academic circles she is considered one of the most important scientists of the 20th century. Of course ask creationists and they will tell you that Darwin's legacy is one of unmitigated disaster, corruption of morals, academic falsehood etc.Slrubenstein | Talk 23:06, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

It depends of course what academic circles we are talking about. Boasians worship her almost like a God. Unfortunately this article is a bit one-sided. My understanding has always been that Mead and her "research work" is pretty much a fraud. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:12, 19 May 2015 (UTC)

Yeah, she's part of the Columbia university Boas anti white civilization fraud cult, just like this sleazebag turd slrubenstein —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:19, 11 May 2011 (UTC)

Watch your step here - see WP:NPA and be civil, or go away. Tvoz/talk 19:57, 15 May 2011 (UTC)
Well, well, I seem to have struck a nerve! Someone is peeing in her pants, so scared that their "white civilization" is crumbling around them that anyone who questions their faith povokes this kind of reply. Go ahead and spew your insults. All you prove is that Nazis or BNPers or however you "white civilization" people are calling yourselves these days are (1) really afraid of something and (2) you either have the intellectual ability of a 9 year old or maybe you really are just a nine year old. Go back to your playground and call people you do not like "turds." In the meantime, the grown-ups have an encyclopedia to write. Slrubenstein | Talk 11:10, 12 May 2011 (UTC)
No, it's not my faith. It has nothing to do with my political beliefs. The work of Boas and Mead is fraud. It is demonstrable and obvious. The sad thing is that you know it. You really are the turd in the water pipe. Supershorts (talk) 13:27, 13 May 2011 (UTC)
Just a turd in a water pipe? Yup, Not the reasoned discourse of an intelligent person, just the whining of someone who can't stand scientific research. The web is filled with nutters like you. People thought Coepernicus and Darwin were obvious frauds also. SO what else is new? Slrubenstein | Talk 21:27, 21 May 2011 (UTC)
You are a biased Columbia grad with a COI. Copernicus and Darwin were verified. Mead was shown to be fraudulent, reporting back to Boas what he wanted to hear based on scant data. Take your bias elsewhere, this a public information service, not a place to big up your "homies". Stop trying to censor real scholarship. Freeman is the preeminient expert on Samoa. I have read his books. Mead is a charlatan, anybody who has read her work can see the transparent fiction. I have all relevant works. Supershorts (talk) 21:40, 21 May 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, Freeman was the charlatan, and his views are accepted only by people with some ideological bias against science. Slrubenstein | Talk 21:06, 22 May 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, and Darwin was a fraud too. Yeah, I have heard it all before! Slrubenstein | Talk 17:16, 14 May 2011 (UTC)
Darwin isn't considered a fraud by mainstream academia. Do you personally agree with Boas' contention that the human cranium is highly plastic? Supershorts (talk) 06:52, 15 May 2011 (UTC)
Boas demonstrated that the human cranium is plastic to a quantifiable degree - don't use weasel words like "highly," he provided numbers. And all mainstram scintists accept them. mainstreal academia does not consider Boas a fraud. Slrubenstein | Talk 13:02, 15 May 2011 (UTC)
Well, considering that the human cranium isn't plastic, I guess any fraudulent quantity classifies as "highly". So what was Boas' quantity? Supershorts (talk) 19:10, 15 May 2011 (UTC)

This is not the appropriate place for a discussion about the value of Mead and Boas to scholarship - they are well-established and well-accepted, and unless you have some constructive, properly sourced suggestions to make about improving this article, and can do it in a civil manner, take your spewing to the blogs and away from here. Tvoz/talk 19:57, 15 May 2011 (UTC)

Wrong. This is exactly the place. As the opener of this thread states, this reads like a hagiography. Tvoz states "they are well-established and well-accepted". This is certainly the case among those who make the most noise, as we can see from the same users again and again defending and pushing the same minority position, but is it really "well-accepted". Can reliable sources be presented to that effect? Supershorts (talk) 19:43, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

Why don't you start by telling us which is the irst sentence in th articl that does not conform to one of our three core content policies NPOV, V or NOR? Or, which paragraph does not conform to one of these policies? Slrubenstein | Talk 21:50, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

It's more a case of omission, namely Derek Freeman's far more detailed study which flatly contradicts all of Mead's most "revolutionary" findings on Samoa. And please spare me the "most anthropologists have made vague criticisms of Freeman". Supershorts (talk) 16:27, 17 May 2011 (UTC)

Vague? The article cites a large number of articles on the Mead-Freeman controversy. Not vague at all. Numerous and precise citations. Slrubenstein | Talk 18:33, 17 May 2011 (UTC)

I added NPOV tag to Coming of Age in Samoa section (although the whole article could probably use it). I'm not personally familiar with much of Mead's or her detractors work, but I do recognize weasel wording and overt bias when I read it. philip72 | Talk 15:23, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

No, this is a biography of one of the pre-eminent scholars of the 20th century. There is plenty of criticism in there, but this is not an article on Derek Freeman or his point of view. We include it, but the expansive discussion of it is appropriately found in the article on Coming of Age in Samoa and his bio. Biographies by definition are biased toward the subject, and this one is no more so than others. I'm removing the tag which I am sure was placed in good faith, but as someone who is familiar with her work and that of her detractors, I utterly disagree that this section is biased. Tvoz/talk 08:14, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

Criticism of alleged hoax?[edit]

In his new book "The Trashing of Margaret Mead -- How Derek Freeman Fooled us all on an Alleged Hoax" Paul Shankman says there was not enough evidence to conclude Mead had been mislead, and it appears this has been questioned for a few years now. Maybe this should be mentioned in the Coming of Age in Samoa section, if Derek Freeman's allegations are. -- This is an excerpt from the book (talk) 08:43, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

It's a confusing section in the article. That "there was not enough evidence to conclude Mead had been misled" is very different from saying that she wasn't, or that her research was correct. The upshot is that by the time someone else looked at Samoan culture, everything was different from Mead's version, and to back her up we have to say that she was right in the first place and then everything changed. It all hangs by a hair. But Ockam's Razor says that Freeman may well be right and Mead was just too credulous. MikeR613 (talk) 01:58, 10 October 2017 (UTC)

Apparently the girls in Samoa were just telling her a bunch of stories which she reported without any verification and based her academic career on it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:52, 16 October 2010 (UTC)

I do not have it, but Shankman's book has been uniersally well-reviewed and if anyone has access it would be a most valuable source. Slrubenstein | Talk 23:04, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
It seems only people who have a biased, overly optimistic opinion about Mead have been allowed to contribute to this article. The first paragraph itself is testimony to this. Why is a 'Neutrality disputed' message not displayed? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:41, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
I agree with you that this article has been written by those with rose-colored glasses, however I do not know enough of the subject to revise. Do you have suggested changes to bring this page to reality? Ckruschke (talk) 19:09, 19 March 2013 (UTC)Ckruschke
The Samoan incident has been referred to by popular authors like Dawkins and Pinker. They agree with Freeman that Mead may have been informed by unreliable sources. All this is not mentioned in the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:39, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
Ok. However, what we are looking for is suggested changes which means what "edits" to the current text would you make. Suggested edits would go a long way to actually making changes to the page. Simply throwing out a "this is something that's wrong / missing" isn't very helpful because first we'd have to find the correct area to insert info on this and then we'd have to devise a correction / addition. Not implying you do all the work, but you seem like you know the subject. Ckruschke (talk) 17:15, 20 March 2013 (UTC)Ckruschke
There have been a number of authors criticize Mead for her work in Samoa. The criticism should be referred to in the article. (talk) 21:54, 1 June 2013 (UTC)
It is.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 08:25, 10 October 2017 (UTC)

Born into a family of Quakers?[edit]

The first sentence of Birth, early family life and education claims that Margaret Mead was born into a Quaker family. However, can the dead link be trusted? Mead herself says that her grandmother was a Methodist, but her mother was a Unitarian before she "gave up on religion" all together. She only says that she had neighbors who were Quakers whom her father would make anti-Quaker jokes toward. Consider revising and make sure to put Blackberry Winter: My Earlier Years (1972) as a source:

  • Mead, Margaret (1972). Blackberry Winter: My Earlier Years. New York: William Morrow. pp. 76–77. ISBN 0-688-00051-7. -Ano-User (talk) 10:47, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

Go ahead and make the change! Slrubenstein | Talk 11:06, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

Ok, will do. Ano-User (talk) 11:27, 1 November 2010 (UTC)


I've protected the page to avoid more editwarring and incite discussion. I think we need a nuanced covering of the Mead-Freeman controversy. It is not the case that Freeman is generally seen as having rebutted or invalidated Mead's conclusions, but it is also not the case that Mead's scholarly reputation was undamaged by the critique (although it seems Freeman damaged his own as much). We need plenty of reliable third party sources to describe the controversy and its legacy in anthropology and Samoan ethnography in a neutral way. I suggest you start presenting your sources here in a calm and collected manner. Remember that Mead and Freeman's own writings are primary sources in relation to the controversy - we should use secondary sources for summarising the debate and its outcome.·Maunus·ƛ· 22:49, 22 May 2011 (UTC)

This book[1] argues that Freeman neglected the effect of the rapid social change that had occured between Mead's fieldwork and his own, and that there for his data is not directly comparable to Mead's or able to refute her conclusions. He argues that the change in sexual attitudes and the heightened difficulties of coming of age for Samoan youth is the result of an historical process beginning with the arrival of the missionary and taking momentum only in the 1940'es and 50'es. This is most close to the way I have heard anthropologists describe the controversy. This [2] is also a good review. This review[3] by several influential anthropologists, pretty much constituting the "mainstream" concludes that there is a consensus "that Freeman’s case against Mead is flawed in several fundamental ways, including how he has characterized Mead’s views on evolution and her place in the “Boasian paradigm,” as well as his popular claim that Mead was hoaxed into believing she had found a “free-love society.” In addition, we concur that Freeman has gone to great lengths to create a sensational story that is out of proportion with historical reality." This also fairly well echoes what is taught about the controversy at my university.·Maunus·ƛ· 23:23, 22 May 2011 (UTC)
Another great review of the debate by Eleanor Leacock[4] arguing that they were both producing a stereotyped picture which have damaged Samoans, and that both ignored the history of Samoa in reproducing a static image of Samoan culture.·Maunus·ƛ· 23:57, 22 May 2011 (UTC)
One problem with Freeman's work is that he relied mostly on Coming of Age in Samoa which Mead wrote for the general public. She published a more detailed monograph for scholarly use that is wholely consistent with the argument in her popular book, and provides far more data to boot (and that certainly demonstrates her expertise in the culture). Freeman claims she was hoaxed, but the record shows that she was an experienced and serious researcher who was well-aware of the nuances of Samoan culture. Moreover, even in her popular book she (like Boas) states that human behavior is a result of a complex interaction between culture and nature. Freemen makes one argument, and then presents his argument in a different way - misrepresenting himself as much as he misrepresents mead. he says the "debate" (no debate since he published his critique after mead died) is over cultural determinism versus people who take nature as seriously as nurture. This is not the real difference between them. The real difference is, he believes that girls everywhere on earth experience adolescence as full of conflict and stress. Mead argues that girls experience it this way in some places but not all, Samoa being one example. The real debate is over monoculture versus cultural diversity. Freeman argues for monoculture, and Mead argues for cultural diversity. Anyway, thanks Maunus for bringing forward some more reliable sources. Slrubenstein | Talk 18:47, 23 May 2011 (UTC)

"Derek Freeman, whose own research was on the Iban of Borneo"[edit]

As we all know, Freeman spent far more time than Mead in Samoa, including living with a Samoan family for 3 years before his Cambridge doctorate, learning Samoan, being formally adopted into the Samoan social hierarchy, returning for many more years, working as a professor at the university of Samoa, and being granted access to the Samoan national archives to research precisely the question under discussion here.

Mead, on the other hand, lived in the US naval station for 8 months, didn't learn Samoan, and surveyed a group of perhaps 100 Samoans.

So can we correct this little deception? Supershorts (talk) 10:59, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

Slrubenstein wrote in an edit summary "Freeman's expertise was on Borneo". My question to him is whether he is ignorant or whether he is deliberately trying to mislead our readers? Supershorts (talk) 11:11, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

What was Freeman's dissertation on? Slrubenstein | Talk 21:17, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
It's truly disturbing that such a slimy, disingenguous troll [seeming POV pusher] is allowed free rein here without sanction and the apparent support of the administrative section. You [should] KNOW that Freeman was a far greater expert on Samoa, as he is universally described by the secondary sources. But you [appear to be] are looking for any tenuous excuse to belittle his authority because you are so transparently biased and dishonest. Yes, his dissertation was on Borneo, does that preclude him from being an expert in anything else? As you [should] KNOW, it doesn't. Boas' dissertation was on the color of water, should I write "Franz Boas, whose own research was on the color of water" everytime he is introduced in an anthropological dispute to discredit him? PLEASE STOP WASTING MY TIME WITH [WHAT APPEARS TO BE] LAME SOPHISTRY, [APPARENT] BIAS AND [APPARENT] DISHONESTY. Thank you. Supershorts (talk) 04:47, 25 May 2011 (UTC)
I think you should proceed by presenting some sources that state that Freeman's Samoan expertise was far greater than Mead's - that is not the jist of the sources I found and presented above. ·Maunus·ƛ· 11:55, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
While it undoubtalby true that Freeman's Samoan expertise was far greater than Mead's, and despite your claims it would be easy to source that, the small change I have been trying to make, which is proving to be like pulling teeth, is simply that Freeman's relevant research was on Samoa. Do you dispute that? Where should I go to complain about you? Supershorts (talk) 12:12, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
I think it is obvious that Freeman also did research on Samoa, and that one is not limited to do research in the area of one's doctoral dissertation. I think it is much less obvious that Freeman's expertise was "far greater" than Mead's and as I say the sources I have presented does not support that notion. Where you go to complain about me would depend about the issue with which you will be complaining.·Maunus·ƛ· 12:36, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
My complaint is that a change that you correctly identify as obvious is still not made because of the bias and special relationship which you and slrubenstein appear to have. If you make it this difficult to change something so obviously biased, I dread to think what it would be like to bring this article to neutrality. My complaint is therefore that in my opinion you are biased and using your administrative tools to promote that bias, a neutral party would have made the change instead of wasting my time here. It is unacceptable that a partisan vets every edit. Supershorts (talk) 12:54, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
You are very quick to call others biased and to allege COI for no good reason. I have removed the phrase about the Iban being Freeman's main research topic, as I agree with you that it is irrelevant. However you seemed also to argue the inclusion of a description of Freeman's expertise in comparison to Mead's and that is not warranted by the sources. I think a considerable part of your experience of editing being as "pulling teeth" can be ascribed to your own attitude which is unnecessarily confrontational (including editwarring, personal attacks and ranting). Other editors tend to respond to that in kind, and even if they don't they'll take you less seriously. Work on that attitude and I think you will have a better experience here. Now if you still have a complaint about my use of administrative tools you can complain at WP:ANI.·Maunus·ƛ· 13:08, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
It is not at all clear to me that Freeman conducted more ethnographic research on Samoan culture than Mead. But to my knowledge, during his academic career he published a couple of articles based on archeological research in Samoa. I know that Freeman wrote about Mead after he retired from Academic life. I fully agree that one's expertise is not limited to one's doctoral dissertation. But the very point of a doctoral dissertation is this: that scholarly knowledge is not the casual knowledge of everyday experience, it is the product of an appropriate methodology directed to answering academic questions. The fact that I have fallen down does not qualify me to claim expertise on gravity. Freeman was a school teacher on Samoa - does this mean that all school teachers are qualified to write anthropological studies? Are the US soldiers who were stationed on Samoa qualified to write anthropological studies? The point of a doctoral dissertation is to demonstrate how careful research produces academic knowledge. Most anthropologiss believe that Mead's work on Samoa - not exemplified by the Coming of Age book written for a popular audience, but by her scholarly Social Organization of Manu'a, does meet the standards of careful anthropological research. Freeman has a relatively short article on Samoan kinship published in American Anthropologist in 1963 or 1964 or thereabouts - certainly a respectable publication, and a sign of valdi research. But I just do not see a record of publication while an active scholar i.e. before he retired in 1982, on Samoa. It was after he retired that he wrote two books on Margaret Mead and created a second career, largely for a popular audience. I think this discussion really risks bing anachronistic. There is no doubt that Freeman is today best known for his writings on Mead, even if they show the same preference for obnoxious bullying over calm and thoughtful reflection of facts shown by Supershorts. But during his academic career. freeman was best known for his work on the Iban. Beofre the 1983 book came out, he was known for his expertise on Borneo. The comment should be put back in, because anthropologists' expertise is based on where they have conducted their ethnographic fieldwork and published on in academic journals and it is important contextual information that Freeman was not known for his expertise on Samoa. To claim that it was, based on material he wrote after he retired, is anachronistic and misleading. When his book on Mead came out in 1983, anthropologists read it as a book written by an expert on Borneo, not an expert on contemporary Samoa - at most, his expertise was on Samoan archeology and ethnohistory, these being the topics he published on. Slrubenstein | Talk 17:31, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
If we really want to provide a full context for the seemingly intellectual debate over cultural versus biological determinism, we should probably provide an account of Derek Freeman's psychological breakdown when in 1961 he visited Saarawak island and ended up accusing the local museum curator of using local statues to exert mind control over the local government in furtherance of a Communist plot. He broke into a museum and destroyed one of the statues and was kicked out. This led to his forced removal from the island, and four psychiatric evaluations that led the administrators at ANU to request he take leave for mental illness, but he refused.
This is more than mere gossip because it was immediately following this incident that Freeman renounced social determinism - the approach he had used in analyzing behavior 9in the Malinowskian tradition in which he was trained (Malinowski was famous for arguing that Freud's Oedipal complex is not a universal but cultural and not ound in Melanesia where social structure is different than in Europe) - and began researching psychology and biology. Ironically, one person he turned to for help in this new intellectual turn was margaret Mead, because many of the Boasians enderwent psychoanalysis prior to conducting fieldwork because they believed that psychology could influence behavior as much as culture. When Freeman visited Mead, she asked if he could read a thesis on Samoa he had written as a graduate student. When she later asked why he did not bring it to her house, he replied "Because I was afraid that you might ask me to stay the night." Surely a Freudian slip. Later he said that "She could cast a spell ... she was a mesmerizer" and later, "Mead was a known castratot; she went for men and put the down." These are published in an interview between Freeman and Sydney journalist Nikki Barrowclough, and recorded by Hiram Caton, a professor at a university in Brisbane. The point is, not long after a mental breakdown in Sarawak Island, Freeman developed some kind of psychological complex involving Mead, and this was about two decades before he published his book portraying her as a naive woman. I mean, if we really want to provide adequate coverage of this conflict between Freeman and Mead, why not provide all the relevant facts? Slrubenstein | Talk 17:55, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
Freeman published at least three articles on Samoan kinship in the 1960'es two of them a scholarly exchange with Marshall Sahlins - in addition to his archeological and ethnohistorical articles. I do not think that there is basis for making a statement limiting him to being a scholar of Borneo It doesn't serve as anything other than a veiled attempt to discredit him outright - an ad hominem argument. The debate should be evaluated by the statements made regarding the arguments of both scholars and their respective merits in secondary sources. If secondary sources comment on Freeman's personal relationship with Mead then we can include that too.·Maunus·ƛ· 21:56, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
"Hiram Caton", the AIDS denialist? This is your reliable source? Supershorts (talk) 20:13, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
And your source that his writings on Freeman are unreliable are ... are ... where? Slrubenstein | Talk 20:27, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
Shankman specifically mentions that Caton's studies of Freeman's records are a valuable resource.·Maunus·ƛ· 21:56, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

I am absolutely appalled at the biased pro-Mead writings on the Margaret Mead page. I mean, Mead's views were extensively debunked by Freeman et al, so that it's only extreme leftwing anthropologists who defend her views. There should at least be a fair appraisal of Freeman's views, not a hatchet-job.The irony is that Freeman did not have the courage to openly call Mead a fraud, and came up with a different "excuse" for her, so is hardly the most vehement anti-Mead critic out there, given that many others have used terms like "fraud" to describe her work". I will have to add a caution at the beginning of the article.Loki0115 (talk) 16:34, 29 August 2011 (UTC)

I think you are right that the article could do a better job at describing Freeman's criticisms, and the kinds of evidence he used. This should be based in the newest assessments of the debate such as Shankman and Orans. You are however incorrect in your assessments about the status of the controversy and that there are any particular political implications. Also the notion of "fraud" is completely off the mark and nobody, not even Freeman accused Mead of that.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 17:07, 29 August 2011 (UTC)

Well, that's not true. Fraud re Margaret Mead has been repeatedly mentioned. I will have to look at this article a bit more and add appropriate refs etc.Loki0115 (talk) 08:51, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

You would certainly need to provide some very good references for that.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 10:07, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

This seems to be a rather excessively pro-mead acount of the debate. Although I think everyone seems to be getting a bit carried away on both sides. Mead's issues arise in the conclusions she made from the data. Much of what she said about american life was biased towards views of american life that she liked and largely unsupported by the data from Somoa. Freemans accounts arrived sometime later, at which time I am sure Somoan life and culture had evolved and comparability is suspect on that account regardless of the other issues involved in the debate. The article is overall too pro-Mead and repetatively damning to Freeman which is just unnecessary. What might be more interesting is something about how the debate caused anthropology to re-assess itself and its methods in the face of such critism against its subjectivity and openness to interpretation from pre-existing researcher prejudices. That is what Freeman highlights in his critisms although it seems to have been lost in the personal slagging match. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:53, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

This is a biography of Margaret Mead, not an article about Derek Freeman's criticism. There are other places in the encyclopedia where there is more detail on his point of view, like his own bio and the piece on Coming of Age in Samoa. Going more into his views in Mead's bio give them way too much weight here. Her life and career have considerably more significance than as a foil for Freeman's largely discounted point of view. Tvoz/talk 08:05, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
I don't see why the fact that this is a biography means that any mention of the significant criticism that Mead's work has received isn't relevant. I looked at the pages for B.F. Skinner, Sigmund Freud, and Ayn Rand for comparison and all of them have significant discussion of criticism of their ideas on the bio page. I agree with the people who say the current page reads more like hagiography rather than biography. BTW, I have no agenda against Mead, I think she had a very positive influence on American culture and on anthropology. Prior to her work the field was dominated with people who often had very racist and pro-colonial pseudoscientific ideas about cultures and race. Mead performed a valuable service to move us beyond that. But her reputation doesn't require that we scrub the historical record, we should discuss her warts and all and I think its essentially irrefutable that she was significantly wrong about the Samoans. She said they don't have rape and they do. She said they don't prize virginity when they have a virginity test often performed by the husband, etc. I plan to add a small criticism section to highlight this and quote people like Derek Freman and Steven Pinker. --MadScientistX11 (talk) 22:54, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

Role in cybernetics[edit]

One suggestion for expansion: The article doesn't yet mention her role in cybernetics, which is usually considered to be significant. Among other things, she was one of the core participants in the Macy conferences, and an early commentator on reflexive (or second-order) cybernetics. --Delirium (talk) 21:31, 16 September 2013 (UTC)

She was indeed, but I know of no evidence that she made any real contributions to the field. Macdonald-ross (talk) 07:00, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
No, her husband Gregory Bateson was the important one of the two in that regards.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 18:23, 19 May 2015 (UTC)

Robert Redfield on Mead[edit]

Robert Redfield had always been critical of Mead on the basis that she had never been fully fluent in the Samoan language. However, in reviewing her Monograph "Social Organization of Manu'a" he found that she had corrected some of the earlier questionable assertions in Coming of Age. This and other arguments can be found in the book The Trashing of Margaret Mead by Paul Shankman.Euonyman (talk) 16:04, 27 May 2015 (UTC)

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Category:LGBT Anglicans[edit]

Could Category:LGBT Christians be replaced with Category:LGBT Anglicans? Thanks, (talk) 19:28, 24 June 2017 (UTC)

Done: Minor edit only, and appropriate. —KuyaBriBriTalk 00:49, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
Thanks, Kuyabribri! (talk) 05:42, 25 June 2017 (UTC)

WWII Britain[edit]

There is nothing here considering the importance of her work in WWII Britain.

In particular it would be nice to see a reference to the booklet: "The American troops and the British community" by Margaret Mead. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Kenif (talkcontribs) 01:07, 25 June 2017 (UTC)

"Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."[edit]

Added a citation for the reference to this quote in The West Wing. However I cannot find any definite attribution of the quote to Mead. This recollection is the closest, but seems to be a recollection of an oral statement: "One of my teachers at LSE, Margaret Mead, told me and my classmates to 'never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.' I have remained inspired by her words." Firoz Lalji (BSc Economics 1969), LSE Benefactor. Tacyarg (talk) 21:00, 29 September 2017 (UTC)

Margaret Mead never worked at LSE and likely never said that anywhere. Rupert the Frog (talk) 08:40, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
I've removed it, not just because she indeed doesn't seem to have worked at LSE but because of the comments at Wikiquote[5] which I'll copy below:
  • Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
    • Attributed in Curing Nuclear Madness (1984) by Frank G. Sommers and Tana Dineen, p. 158; also in And I Quote: The Definitive Collection of Quotes, Sayings, and Jokes for the Contemporary Speechmaker (1992), edited by Ashton Applewhite, Tripp Evans, and Andrew Frothingham. No contemporaneous source is known. Ralph Keyes, in the introduction to The Quote Verifier (2006), p. xvi, gives this as an example of situations where derivative sources merely cite each other and no one knows the original source.
    • Variants:
      Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
      Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For, indeed, that's all who ever have.
      A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
      Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever does.
      Never doubt that a thoughtful, committed individual can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

Doug Weller talk 16:52, 10 October 2017 (UTC)

But all of her fake material (possibly fabricated by others) is still a "contribution" of sorts. I suggest putting back in the quote uses, but maybe pointing out it's fake. Rupert the Frog (talk) 17:06, 10 October 2017 (UTC)

The FAQ on Mead's Institute for Intercultural Studies website ( notes that the quote, while unsourced, is trademarked in part by her granddaughter. Chadthomasgreen (talk) 16:11, 24 January 2018 (UTC)

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Carl Sagan, Margaret Mead, and the theory that some cultures don't know that sex causes babies[edit]

  • At least according to my possibly faulty memory, once upon a time, probably in either Broca's Brain or in Cosmos (as these are the two books of Sagan's that I can remember reading), Carl Sagan criticized an allegedly naive Western young female anthropologist (whom my possibly mistaken memory tells me was Mead) for supposedly creating (or helping to create) the myth (or alleged myth) that some cultures supposedly don't know (either thru never discovering, or thru somehow unlearning) that babies are caused by sex. Sagan claimed the female wrote that she had told a male local on some Pacific island that sex was caused by babies, and the man had replied that was impossible, pointing to a woman who had given birth recently despite her husband being away for 3 years. Sagan added that if a young woman had said the same to him he might also have been tempted to pull her leg with a story about the birds and the bees.
  • (On the other hand, incidentally, I was related to a now-deceased psychiatrist who once briefly argued that there are many possible 'benefits' (such as free love, etc) for a society that chooses to unlearn the idea that sex causes babies - and I also note that until recently the cost of any such unlearning might have been especially low in a Pacific island where isolation means free love is less likely to lead to sexually transmitted diseases (something which also supposedly applied until recently to the alleged culture of sexual hospitality among at least some Inuit, who as a result are now reportedly plagued by sexually transmitted diseases in the less isolated modern world) - but, unfortunately or otherwise, per WP:NOTFORUM, I am not here to discuss this idea, but to discuss ways of improving this article).
  • However I don't have a copy of Cosmos, and a quick perusal of the index of Broca's Brain didn't get me any quick confirmation of this story, and neither did perhaps an hour of Google searches. So, per WP:NOTCOMPULSORY and WP:BNO, I've decided to give up on the search myself. But if some other editor(s) can find Reliable Source confirmation of this story, it might well be able to be used to improve this article (or possibly some other article, if the allegedly naive female turns out to be somebody other than Mead).

Oops - it seems my memory was partly at fault. The "naive female" was in fact the male Bronislaw Malinowski in the Trobriand Islands - it's in the last 2 pages (pages 79-80 in my edition) of Chapter 6 (White Dwarfs and Little Green Men) of Carl Sagan's Broca's Brain. Sorry about that. Tlhslobus (talk) 23:35, 4 November 2018 (UTC)

I've now added a sentence about this in our Malinowski article.Tlhslobus (talk) 00:25, 5 November 2018 (UTC)

Seems like an irrelevant piece of trivia to me. I also don't know why we should believe Sagan, a non-anthropologist who never visited the Trobriands, over Malinowski who did.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 07:30, 5 November 2018 (UTC)

Publications by Mead as a sole author[edit]

This section appears to omit the following publication...Social Organization of Manua (1930). Mead, Margaret. Social Organization of Manua (1930) Bernice P. Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii. No ISBN, but online version (OCLC)604495315. [1] and there is a copy on my bookshelf --Freckster (talk) 00:02, 24 November 2018 (UTC)

Social Oganization of Manua ISBN 9780910240086 [2] --Freckster (talk) 00:32, 24 November 2018 (UTC)