Sunday, December 16, 2007

Margaret Mead

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
1901 Margaret Mead (d. November 15, 1978), American anthropologist, famous for her work in Samoa, much of which today is viewed with suspicion due to the iconoclastic research by New Zealand anthropologist, Derek Freeman.

Freeman's findings raised questions about the conventional anthropological view of the primacy of social conditioning in cultural determinism, and suggest greater interaction between that factor and biological ones. Freeman came under intense academic attack, often from sociologists whose Marxist orientation tends to disallow biological influences upon culture.

Mead, however, cannot be portrayed as simply an antagonist to propositions of genetic determinism. EO Wilson, often considered the founder of sociobiology, recalled that Mead invited him to dinner to discuss sociobiology. He remembers, "I was nervous then, expecting America's mother figure to scold me about the nature of genetic determinism. I had nothing to fear. She wanted to stress that she, too, had published ideas on the biological basis of social behavior" (1994, 348). Mead's interest in the role of biology in human behaviour was apparent in her later career ...

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