MEAD Franz BOAS (1858-1942) legnevesebb tanítványa. BOAS az 1920-as évektől datált modern antropológia emblematikus figurája. A New York-i Columbia Egyetemen BOAS hozta létre az első amerikai antropológiai tanszéket.
Kulturális relativizmus => a modern antropológia Franz Boastól származó alapeszméje, mely szerint a kultúra megértése csak sokszínűségében, az egyes kultúrák megítélése pedig csak sajátos kontextusukban lehetséges.
A sajátunkétól idegen életmódot nem tekinthetjük alacsonyabb rendűnek. Minden kultúrát a saját fogalmi keretein belül kell megérteni, tudományosan félrevezető lenne, ha más kultúrákat a nyugati etnocentrikus osztályozás szerint fejlettségi szinteken keresztül ítélnénk meg.
Foglalkoztatta a veleszületés vagy belenevelődés problémája.
Feminista antropológia - MEAD és R. Benedich munkásságához köthető. MEAD szerint a nő nem nőnek születik, hanem nővé válik.
A szocializációs folyamatban a kulturálisan megfelelő viselkedésmintákat sajátítjuk el - a felnőttekkel és a kortársakkal való kapcsolaton keresztül.
Ezolyan folyamat melyen keresztül a kulturát az egyik generáció a másiknak adja át.
1901 - 1978
Margaret Mead was born on December 16, 1901, at the West Park Hospital in Philadelphia. After attending many schools because of family travel, Margaret graduated and was sent to college at DePauw University, but shortly after transferred to Barnard College where she studied economics and sociology. Barnard was the place where Margaret became interested in Anthropology. This was the result of having an interesting instructor, Franz Boas, and his assistant, Ruth Benedict, who became her life-long friend.
Margaret then continued her studies as a graduate student. Through school, she had the opportunity to do some fieldwork in Samoa. In Samoa, she studied the Manu adolescent girls in relation to American female adolescents, and through ethnographic findings found that culture influences personality, not genetics. After she returned, her book Coming of Age in Samoa was published.
In December, 1931, Margaret traveled to New Guinea to study the Arapesh and later the Mudugumor and Tchambuli cultures. Here, her fieldwork consisted of studying sex roles in culture. Margaret found that in the Arapesh culture, both men and women were expected to be equal. This culture was found to be very simple as both genders actively raised the children. On the other hand, the Mudugmor culture was very fierce; both men and women were mean and aggressive. Often the children were left to fend for themselves and infants of the wrong sex were commonly cast into the river to die. This, in itself, was a very alarming experience for Margaret.
In the Tchambuli culture, Margaret found that the sex rolls are reversed. The women were brisk and hearty and the men were in charge of the household. These cultural differences were then published in another book, Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies; Margaret participated in other fieldwork projects in Bali where she experienced even more cultural diversity.
She studied several cultures with opposite values of society and personal roles within one hundred miles of one another. She intended to disprove the current theory that the masculine and feminine roles were innate and unchangeable. She found that the masculine and feminine attributes were determined by the systematic effort from the parents, not the product of the sexually identifiable distinctions. She found differences in attitudes and identification of roles that crossed the sexual lines among the people of three different cultures in the Pacific.
Margaret died in 1978 having lived a much enriched life. Margaret Mead was a clear and forceful person who had a great impact on the world of psychology and anthropology.