Margaret Mead

Margaret Mead

Overview
Margaret Mead was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 cultural anthropologist
Cultural anthropology
Cultural anthropology is a branch of anthropology focused on the study of cultural variation among humans, collecting data about the impact of global economic and political processes on local cultural realities. Anthropologists use a variety of methods, including participant observation,...

, who was frequently a featured writer and speaker in the mass media throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

She was both a popularizer of the insights of anthropology into modern American and Western culture
Western culture
Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization or European civilization, refers to cultures of European origin and is used very broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, religious beliefs, political systems, and specific artifacts and...

, and also a respected, if controversial, academic anthropologist. Her reports about the attitudes towards sex in South Pacific and Southeast Asian traditional cultures amply informed the 1960s sexual revolution
Sexual revolution
The sexual revolution was a social movement that challenged traditional codes of behavior related to sexuality and interpersonal relationships throughout the Western world from the 1960s into the 1980s...

.
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Unanswered Questions
Quotations

If we are to achieve a richer culture, rich in contrasting values, we must recognize the whole gamut of human potentialities, and so weave a less arbitrary social fabric, one in which each diverse human gift will find a fitting place.

Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies (1935)

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

Margaret Mead: The Making of an American Icon Nancy C. Lutkehaus

To cherish the life of the world.

Epitaph
Encyclopedia
Margaret Mead was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 cultural anthropologist
Cultural anthropology
Cultural anthropology is a branch of anthropology focused on the study of cultural variation among humans, collecting data about the impact of global economic and political processes on local cultural realities. Anthropologists use a variety of methods, including participant observation,...

, who was frequently a featured writer and speaker in the mass media throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

She was both a popularizer of the insights of anthropology into modern American and Western culture
Western culture
Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization or European civilization, refers to cultures of European origin and is used very broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, religious beliefs, political systems, and specific artifacts and...

, and also a respected, if controversial, academic anthropologist. Her reports about the attitudes towards sex in South Pacific and Southeast Asian traditional cultures amply informed the 1960s sexual revolution
Sexual revolution
The sexual revolution was a social movement that challenged traditional codes of behavior related to sexuality and interpersonal relationships throughout the Western world from the 1960s into the 1980s...

. Mead was a champion of broadened sexual morals within a context of traditional western religious life.

An Anglican Christian, she played a considerable part in the drafting of the 1979 American Episcopal Book of Common Prayer
Book of Common Prayer
The Book of Common Prayer is the short title of a number of related prayer books used in the Anglican Communion, as well as by the Continuing Anglican, "Anglican realignment" and other Anglican churches. The original book, published in 1549 , in the reign of Edward VI, was a product of the English...

.

Birth, early family life and education


Mead was the first of five children, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Philadelphia County, with which it is coterminous. The city is located in the Northeastern United States along the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers. It is the fifth-most-populous city in the United States,...

, but raised in Doylestown
Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Doylestown is a borough in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, north of Philadelphia. As of the 2010 census, the borough population was 8,380. The borough is the county seat of Bucks County.- History :...

. Her father, Edward Sherwood Mead, was a professor of finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
The Wharton School is the business school of the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Wharton was the world’s first collegiate business school and the first business school in the United States...

, and her mother, Emily Fogg Mead, was a sociologist who studied Italian immigrants. Her sister Katharine (1906–1907) died at the age of nine months. This was a traumatic event for Mead, who had named this baby, and thoughts of her lost sister permeated her daydreams for many years. Her family moved frequently, so her early education alternated between home-schooling and traditional schools. Born into a family of varying religious outlooks, she searched for a form of religion that gave an expression of the faith that she had been formally acquainted with, Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

. In doing so, she found the rituals of the Episcopal Church
Episcopal Church (United States)
The Episcopal Church is a mainline Anglican Christian church found mainly in the United States , but also in Honduras, Taiwan, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, the British Virgin Islands and parts of Europe...

 to fit the expression of religion she was seeking. Margaret studied one year, 1919, at DePauw University
DePauw University
DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, USA, is a private, national liberal arts college with an enrollment of approximately 2,400 students. The school has a Methodist heritage and was originally known as Indiana Asbury University. DePauw is a member of both the Great Lakes Colleges Association...

, then transferred to Barnard College
Barnard College
Barnard College is a private women's liberal arts college and a member of the Seven Sisters. Founded in 1889, Barnard has been affiliated with Columbia University since 1900. The campus stretches along Broadway between 116th and 120th Streets in the Morningside Heights neighborhood in the borough...

 where she earned her Bachelor's degree in 1923.

She studied with Professor Franz Boas
Franz Boas
Franz Boas was a German-American anthropologist and a pioneer of modern anthropology who has been called the "Father of American Anthropology" and "the Father of Modern Anthropology." Like many such pioneers, he trained in other disciplines; he received his doctorate in physics, and did...

 and Dr. Ruth Benedict
Ruth Benedict
Ruth Benedict was an American anthropologist, cultural relativist, and folklorist....

 at Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

 before earning her Master's in 1924. Mead set out in 1925 to do fieldwork in Polynesia
Polynesia
Polynesia is a subregion of Oceania, made up of over 1,000 islands scattered over the central and southern Pacific Ocean. The indigenous people who inhabit the islands of Polynesia are termed Polynesians and they share many similar traits including language, culture and beliefs...

. In 1926, she joined the American Museum of Natural History
American Museum of Natural History
The American Museum of Natural History , located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City, United States, is one of the largest and most celebrated museums in the world...

, New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, as assistant curator. She received her Ph.D. from Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

 in 1929.

Both of Mead's surviving sisters were married to well-known men. Elizabeth Mead (1909–1983), an artist and teacher, married cartoonist William Steig
William Steig
William Steig was a prolific American cartoonist, sculptor and, later in life, an author of popular children's literature...

, and Priscilla Mead (1911–1959) married author Leo Rosten
Leo Rosten
Leo Calvin Rosten was born in Łódź, Russian Empire and died in New York City. He was a teacher and academic, but is best known as a humorist in the fields of scriptwriting, storywriting, journalism and Yiddish lexicography.-Early life:Rosten was born into a Yiddish-speaking family in what is now...

. Mead also had a brother, Richard, who became a professor.

Mead's observation skills came from her grandmother and her mother. When Mead was a child they would observe and record her actions in a notebook. Mead realized the importance of observing and recording important findings.

Personal life


Mead was married three times. Her first husband (1923–1928) was Luther Cressman
Luther Cressman
Luther Sheeleigh Cressman was an American anthropologist. He is known as the father of Oregon anthropology....

, a theology student at the time who eventually became an anthropologist. Mead dismissively characterized their union as "my student marriage" in Blackberry Winter, a sobriquet with which Cressman took vigorous issue. Her second husband was New Zealander Reo Fortune
Reo Fortune
Reo Franklin Fortune was a New Zealand social anthropologist. Originally trained as a psychologist, Fortune was a lecturer in social anthropology at the Cambridge University, and a specialist in Melanesian language and culture. He was married to Margaret Mead, with whom he undertook field studies...

, a Cambridge
University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest university in both the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world , and the seventh-oldest globally...

 graduate (1928–1935). As an anthropologist, his Sorcerers of Dobu remains the locus classicus of eastern Papuan anthropology, but he is best known instead for his Fortunate number theory. She described her second marriage as more passionate than the first, embarked upon when she was told that she could not have children and abandoned when she was given hope by another physician that childbearing might indeed be possible.

Her third and longest-lasting marriage (1936–1950) was to Englishman Gregory Bateson
Gregory Bateson
Gregory Bateson was an English anthropologist, social scientist, linguist, visual anthropologist, semiotician and cyberneticist whose work intersected that of many other fields. He had a natural ability to recognize order and pattern in the universe...

, also a Cambridge graduate, with whom she had a daughter, Mary Catherine Bateson
Mary Catherine Bateson
Mary Catherine Bateson is an American writer and cultural anthropologist.A graduate of the Brearley School, Bateson is the daughter of Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson. Since 1960, she has been married to Barkev Kassarjian, a professor of business management at Babson College...

, who would also become an anthropologist. Her pediatrician was Benjamin Spock
Benjamin Spock
Benjamin McLane Spock was an American pediatrician whose book Baby and Child Care, published in 1946, is one of the biggest best-sellers of all time. Its message to mothers is that "you know more than you think you do."Spock was the first pediatrician to study psychoanalysis to try to understand...

 early in his career. Spock's subsequent writings on child rearing incorporated some of Mead's own practices and beliefs acquired from her ethnological field observations which she shared with him; in particular, breastfeeding
Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is the feeding of an infant or young child with breast milk directly from female human breasts rather than from a baby bottle or other container. Babies have a sucking reflex that enables them to suck and swallow milk. It is recommended that mothers breastfeed for six months or...

 on the baby's demand rather than a schedule. She readily acknowledged that Gregory Bateson was the husband she loved the most. She was devastated when he left her, and she remained his loving friend ever after, keeping his photograph by her bedside wherever she traveled, including beside her hospital deathbed.

Mead also had an exceptionally close relationship with Ruth Benedict
Ruth Benedict
Ruth Benedict was an American anthropologist, cultural relativist, and folklorist....

, one of her instructors. In her memoir about her parents, With a Daughter's Eye, Mary Catherine Bateson implies that the relationship between Benedict and Mead was partly sexual. While Margaret Mead never openly identified herself as lesbian or bisexual, the details of her relationship with Benedict have led others to so identify her. In her writings she proposed that it is to be expected that an individual's sexual orientation may evolve throughout life.

She spent her last years in a close personal and professional collaboration with anthropologist Rhoda Metraux
Rhoda Metraux
Dr. Rhoda Bubendey Metraux , was a prominent anthropologist in the area of cross-cultural studies, specializing in Haitian voodoo and the Iatmul of New Guinea. She collaborated with Alfred Metraux, on mutual studies of Voodoo in Haiti. During World War II, Dr...

, with whom she lived from 1955 until her death in 1978. Letters between the two published in 2006 with the permission of Mead's daughter clearly express a romantic relationship.

Career and later life


During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Mead served as executive secretary of the National Research Council
United States National Research Council
The National Research Council of the USA is the working arm of the United States National Academies, carrying out most of the studies done in their names.The National Academies include:* National Academy of Sciences...

's Committee on Food Habits. She served as curator of ethnology
Ethnology
Ethnology is the branch of anthropology that compares and analyzes the origins, distribution, technology, religion, language, and social structure of the ethnic, racial, and/or national divisions of humanity.-Scientific discipline:Compared to ethnography, the study of single groups through direct...

 at the American Museum of Natural History from 1946 to 1969. She was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. The Academy’s elected members are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.James Bowdoin, John Adams, and...

 in 1948. She taught at The New School
The New School
The New School is a university in New York City, located mostly in Greenwich Village. From its founding in 1919 by progressive New York academics, and for most of its history, the university was known as the New School for Social Research. Between 1997 and 2005 it was known as New School University...

 and Columbia University, where she was an adjunct professor from 1954 to 1978. She was a professor of anthropology and chair of the Division of Social Sciences at Fordham University
Fordham University
Fordham University is a private, nonprofit, coeducational research university in the United States, with three campuses in and around New York City. It was founded by the Roman Catholic Diocese of New York in 1841 as St...

's Lincoln Center campus from 1968 to 1970, founding their anthropology department. Following the Ruth Benedict's example, Mead focused her research on problems of child rearing, personality, and culture. She served as President of the American Anthropological Association
American Anthropological Association
The American Anthropological Association is a professional organization of scholars and practitioners in the field of anthropology. With 11,000 members, the Arlington, Virginia based association includes archaeologists, cultural anthropologists, biological anthropologists, linguistic...

 in 1960. She held various positions in the American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Association for the Advancement of Science
The American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international non-profit organization with the stated goals of promoting cooperation among scientists, defending scientific freedom, encouraging scientific responsibility, and supporting scientific education and science outreach for the...

, notably president in 1975 and chair of the executive committee of the board of directors in 1976.

Mead was featured on two record albums
Album
An album is a collection of recordings, released as a single package on gramophone record, cassette, compact disc, or via digital distribution. The word derives from the Latin word for list .Vinyl LP records have two sides, each comprising one half of the album...

 published by Folkways Records
Folkways Records
Folkways Records was a record label founded by Moses Asch that documented folk, world, and children's music. It was acquired by the Smithsonian Institution in 1987, and is now part of Smithsonian Folkways.-History:...

. The first, released in 1959, An Interview With Margaret Mead, explored the topics of morals and anthropology. In 1971, she was included in a compilation of talks by prominent women, But the Women Rose, Vol.2: Voices of Women in American History.

She is credited with the pluralization of the term "semiotics
Semiotics
Semiotics, also called semiotic studies or semiology, is the study of signs and sign processes , indication, designation, likeness, analogy, metaphor, symbolism, signification, and communication...

."

In later life, Mead was a mentor to many young anthropologists and sociologists, including Jean Houston
Jean Houston
Jean Houston is an American scholar, lecturer, author and philosopher who has helped pioneer and motivate the human potentials movement. As a teacher and visionary thinker, Houston holds conferences and seminars with social leaders, educational institutions and business organizations worldwide...

.

Mead died of pancreatic cancer
Pancreatic cancer
Pancreatic cancer refers to a malignant neoplasm of the pancreas. The most common type of pancreatic cancer, accounting for 95% of these tumors is adenocarcinoma, which arises within the exocrine component of the pancreas. A minority arises from the islet cells and is classified as a...

 on November 15, 1978. She was buried at Trinity Episcopal Church in Buckingham, Pennsylvania.

Coming of Age in Samoa


In the foreword to Coming of Age in Samoa, Mead's advisor, Franz Boas
Franz Boas
Franz Boas was a German-American anthropologist and a pioneer of modern anthropology who has been called the "Father of American Anthropology" and "the Father of Modern Anthropology." Like many such pioneers, he trained in other disciplines; he received his doctorate in physics, and did...

, wrote of its significance:

Courtesy, modesty, good manners, conformity to definite ethical standards are universal, but what constitutes courtesy, modesty, very good manners, and definite ethical standards is not universal. It is instructive to know that standards differ in the most unexpected ways.


Boas went on to point out that at the time of publication, many Americans had begun to discuss the problems faced by young people (particularly women) as they pass through adolescence
Adolescence
Adolescence is a transitional stage of physical and mental human development generally occurring between puberty and legal adulthood , but largely characterized as beginning and ending with the teenage stage...

 as "unavoidable periods of adjustment". Boas felt that a study of the problems faced by adolescents in another culture would be illuminating.

And so, as Mead herself described the goal of her research: "I have tried to answer the question which sent me to Samoa
Samoa
Samoa , officially the Independent State of Samoa, formerly known as Western Samoa is a country encompassing the western part of the Samoan Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. It became independent from New Zealand in 1962. The two main islands of Samoa are Upolu and one of the biggest islands in...

: Are the disturbances which vex our adolescents due to the nature of adolescence itself or to the civilization? Under different conditions does adolescence present a different picture?" To answer this question, she conducted her study among a small group of Samoa
Samoa
Samoa , officially the Independent State of Samoa, formerly known as Western Samoa is a country encompassing the western part of the Samoan Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. It became independent from New Zealand in 1962. The two main islands of Samoa are Upolu and one of the biggest islands in...

ns — a village of 600 people on the island of Ta‘u — in which she got to know, live with, observe, and interview through an interpreter 68 young women between the ages of 9 and 20. She concluded that the passage from childhood to adulthood — adolescence — in Samoa was a smooth transition and not marked by the emotional or psychological distress, anxiety, or confusion seen in the United States.

As Boas and Mead expected, this book upset many Westerners when it first appeared in 1928. Many American readers were shocked by her observation that incest was common in the Samoan culture and her claim that young Samoan women deferred marriage for many years while enjoying casual sex
Casual sex
Casual sex or hooking up refers to certain types of human sexual activity outside the context of a romantic relationship. The term is not always used consistently: some use it to refer to any extramarital sex, some use it to refer to sex in a casual relationship, whereas others reserve its use for...

 but eventually married, settled down, and successfully reared their own children.

Mead's findings suggested that the community ignores both boys and girls until they are about 15 or 16. Before then, children have no social standing within the community.
Mead also found that marriage is regarded as a social and economic arrangement where wealth, rank, and job skills of the husband and wife are taken into consideration.

In 1983, five years after Mead had died, New Zealand anthropologist Derek Freeman
Derek Freeman
John Derek Freeman was a New Zealand anthropologist best known for his criticism of Margaret Mead's work in Samoan society, as described in her 1928 ethnography Coming of Age in Samoa...

, published Margaret Mead and Samoa: The Making and Unmaking of an Anthropological Myth, in which he challenged Mead's major findings about sexuality in Samoan society, citing statements of her surviving informants' claiming that she had coaxed them into giving her the answers she wanted. Most anthropologists have been highly critical of Freeman's arguments, even if they are often skeptical of Mead's popular works, such as Coming of Age in Samoa. A frequent critique of Freeman is that he regularly misrepresented Mead's research and views. In a recent evaluation of the debate, anthropologist Paul Shankman concluded that:
There is now a large body of criticism of Freeman's work from a number of perspectives in which Mead, Samoa, and anthropology appear in a very different light than they do in Freeman's work. Indeed, the immense significance that Freeman gave his critique looks like "much ado about nothing" to many of his critics.


Evaluating Mead's work in Samoa from a positivist
Positivism
Positivism is a a view of scientific methods and a philosophical approach, theory, or system based on the view that, in the social as well as natural sciences, sensory experiences and their logical and mathematical treatment are together the exclusive source of all worthwhile information....

 stance, Martin Orans' assessment of the controversy was that Mead did not formulate her research agenda in scientific terms, nor did she carry it out with proper scientific rigour, meaning that her enquiry could not have provided the evidence needed to prove her thesis. Thus he concludes that "her work may properly be damned with the harshest scientific criticism of all, that it is "not even wrong"".

Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies


Another influential book by Mead was Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies. This became a major cornerstone of the feminist movement
Feminist movement
The feminist movement refers to a series of campaigns for reforms on issues such as reproductive rights, domestic violence, maternity leave, equal pay, women's suffrage, sexual harassment and sexual violence...

, since it claimed that females are dominant in the Tchambuli (now spelled Chambri
Chambri
Chambri are an ethnic group in the Chambri Lakes region in the East Sepik province of Papua New Guinea. The social structures of Chambri society have often been a subject in the study of gender roles. Margaret Mead, a cultural anthropologist, studied the Chambri in 1933...

) Lake region of the Sepik basin of Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea , officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is a country in Oceania, occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and numerous offshore islands...

 (in the western Pacific) without causing any special problems. The lack of male dominance may have been the result of the Australian administration's outlawing of warfare. According to contemporary research, males are dominant throughout Melanesia (although some believe that female witches have special powers). Others have argued that there is still much cultural variation throughout Melanesia, and especially in the large island of New Guinea
New Guinea
New Guinea is the world's second largest island, after Greenland, covering a land area of 786,000 km2. Located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, it lies geographically to the east of the Malay Archipelago, with which it is sometimes included as part of a greater Indo-Australian Archipelago...

. Moreover, anthropologists often overlook the significance of networks of political influence among females. The formal male dominated institutions typical of some areas of high population density were not, for example, present in the same way in Oksapmin, West Sepik Province, a more sparsely populated area. Cultural patterns there were different from, say, Mt. Hagen. They were closer to those described by Mead.

Mead stated that the Arapesh people, also in the Sepik, were pacifists, although she noted that they do on occasion engage in warfare. Her observations about the sharing of garden plots amongst the Arapesh, the egalitarian emphasis in child rearing, and her documentation of predominantly peaceful relations among relatives are very different from the "big man" displays of dominance that were documented in more stratified New Guinea cultures — e.g., by Andrew Strathern. They are a different cultural pattern.

In brief, her comparative study revealed a full range of contrasting gender roles:
  • "Among the Arapesh, both men and women were peaceful in temperament and neither men nor women made war.
  • "Among the Mundugumor, the opposite was true: both men and women were warlike in temperament.
  • "And the Tchambuli were different from both. The men 'primped' and spent their time decorating themselves while the women worked and were the practical ones — the opposite of how it seemed in early 20th century America."

Other research areas


Mead has been credited with persuading the American Jewish Committee
American Jewish Committee
The American Jewish Committee was "founded in 1906 with the aim of rallying all sections of American Jewry to defend the rights of Jews all over the world...

 to sponsor a project to study European Jewish villages, shtetl
Shtetl
A shtetl was typically a small town with a large Jewish population in Central and Eastern Europe until The Holocaust. Shtetls were mainly found in the areas which constituted the 19th century Pale of Settlement in the Russian Empire, the Congress Kingdom of Poland, Galicia and Romania...

s, in which a team of researchers would conduct mass interviews with Jewish immigrants living in New York City. The resulting book, widely cited for decades, allegedly created the Jewish mother stereotype
Jewish mother stereotype
The Jewish mother or wife stereotype is a common stereotype and stock character used by Jewish comedians and authors whenever they discuss actual or fictional situations involving their mothers or other females in their lives who possess mother-like qualities...

, a mother intensely loving but controlling to the point of smothering, and engendering guilt in her children through the suffering she professed to undertake for their sakes.

She also cofounded the Parapsychological Association, a group advocating for the advancement of parapsychology and psychical research.

Criticism


Derek Freeman
Derek Freeman
John Derek Freeman was a New Zealand anthropologist best known for his criticism of Margaret Mead's work in Samoan society, as described in her 1928 ethnography Coming of Age in Samoa...

, an anthropologist who spent many years among the Samoans, was critical of Mead's findings that culture is responsible for the disturbances of adolescence, and that Samoans had a significantly different experience. He wrote:

Martin Orans, another anthropologist who worked in Samoa, wrote:

Legacy


On January 19, 1979, President Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

 announced that he was awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Presidential Medal of Freedom
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with thecomparable Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress—the highest civilian award in the United States...

 posthumously to Mead. U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young
Andrew Young
Andrew Jackson Young is an American politician, diplomat, activist and pastor from Georgia. He has served as Mayor of Atlanta, a Congressman from the 5th district, and United States Ambassador to the United Nations...

 presented the award to Mead's daughter at a special program honoring Mead's contributions, sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History, where she spent many years of her career. The citation read:
The 2006 music video for "If Everyone Cared
If Everyone Cared
"If Everyone Cared" is the title of a song recorded by Canadian rock group Nickelback. It was released in November 2006 as the sixth single from the album All the Right Reasons, and the single released in Australia and the US respectively...

" by Nickelback
Nickelback
Nickelback is a Canadian rock band from Hanna, Alberta. Since 1995 the band has included guitarist and lead vocalist Chad Kroeger, guitarist and back-up vocalist Ryan Peake and bassist Mike Kroeger.. The band's current drummer and percussionist is Daniel Adair who has been with the band since 2005....

 ends with her quote: "Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

In addition, there are several schools named after Margaret Mead in the United States: a junior high school in Elk Grove Village, Illinois
Elk Grove Village, Illinois
Elk Grove Village is a municipality located in northeastern Illinois adjacent to O'Hare International Airport and the City of Chicago. Elk Grove Village encompasses in land area with located in Cook County and located in DuPage County, Illinois. The population was 32,745 at the 2010 census...

, an elementary school
Elementary school
An elementary school or primary school is an institution where children receive the first stage of compulsory education known as elementary or primary education. Elementary school is the preferred term in some countries, particularly those in North America, where the terms grade school and grammar...

 in Sammamish, Washington
Sammamish, Washington
-Surrounding cities and communities:-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 34,104 people, 11,131 households, and 9,650 families residing in the city. In 2007, the population is expected to pass 40,000....

 and another in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, New York.

See also


  • Elsie Clews Parsons
    Elsie Clews Parsons
    Elsie Worthington Clews Parsons was an American anthropologist, sociologist, folklorist, and feminist who studied Native American tribes—such as the Tewa and Hopi—in Arizona, New Mexico, and Mexico. She helped found The New School...

  • Tim Asch
    Tim Asch
    Timothy Asch , was a noted anthropologist, photographer, and ethnographic filmmaker. Along with John Marshall and Robert Gardner, Asch played an important role in the development of visual anthropology...

  • Visual anthropology
    Visual anthropology
    Visual anthropology is a subfield of cultural anthropology that is concerned, in part, with the study and production of ethnographic photography, film and, since the mid-1990s, new media...

  • Zora Neale Hurston
    Zora Neale Hurston
    Zora Neale Hurston was an American folklorist, anthropologist, and author during the time of the Harlem Renaissance...


Publications by Mead


As a sole author
  • Coming of Age in Samoa
    Coming of Age in Samoa
    Coming of Age in Samoa is a book by American anthropologist Margaret Mead based upon her research and study of youth on the island of Ta'u in the Samoa Islands which primarily focused on adolescent girls. Mead was 23 years old when she carried out her field work in Samoa...

     (1928) ISBN 0-688-05033-
  • The Changing Culture of an Indian Tribe (1932)
  • Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies (1935)
  • And Keep Your Powder Dry: An Anthropologist Looks at America (1942)
  • Male and Female
    Male and Female (book)
    Male and Female is a 1949 comparative study of tribal men and women on seven Pacific islands and men and women in the contemporary United States by anthropologist Margaret Mead.-Publication data:*Mead, Margaret...

     (1949) ISBN 0-688-14676-7
  • New Lives for Old: Cultural Transformation in Manus, 1928-1953 (1956)
  • People and Places (1959; a book for young readers)
  • Continuities in Cultural Evolution (1964)
  • Culture and Commitment (1970)
  • Blackberry Winter: My Earlier Years (1972; autobiography) ISBN 0-317-60065-6


As editor or coauthor
  • Cultural Patterns and Technical Change, editor (1953)
  • Primitive Heritage: An Anthropological Anthology, edited with Nicholas Calas (1953)
  • An Anthropologist at Work, editor (1959, reprinted 1966; a volume of Ruth Benedict
    Ruth Benedict
    Ruth Benedict was an American anthropologist, cultural relativist, and folklorist....

    's writings)
  • The Study of Culture At A Distance, edited with Rhoda Metraux, 1953
  • Themes in French Culture, with Rhoda Metraux, 1954
  • The Wagon and the Star: A Study of American Community Initiative co-authored with Muriel Whitbeck Brown, 1966

kanye race]], with James Baldwin
James Baldwin (writer)
James Arthur Baldwin was an American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic.Baldwin's essays, for instance "Notes of a Native Son" , explore palpable yet unspoken intricacies of racial, sexual, and class distinctions in Western societies, most notably in mid-20th century America,...

, 1971
  • A Way of Seeing, with Rhoda Metraux, 1975

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