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Coming of Age in Samoa cover

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Coming of Age in Samoa

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Coming of Age in Samoa is a book by American anthropologist Margaret Mead based upon her research and study of youth – primarily adolescent girls – on the island of Ta'u in the Samoan Islands. The book details the sexual life of teenagers in Samoan society in the early 20th century, and theorizes that culture has a leading influence on psychosexual development. First published in 1928, the book launched Mead as a pioneering researcher and as the most famous anthropologist in the world. Since its first publication, Coming of Age in Samoa was the most widely read book in the field of anthropology until Napoleon Chagnon's Yanomamö: The Fierce People overtook it. The book has sparked years of ongoing and intense debate and controversy on questions pertaining to society, culture, and science. It is a key text in the nature versus nurture debate, as well as in discussions on issues relating to family, adolescence, gender, social norms, and attitudes.In the 1980s, Derek Freeman contested many of Mead's claims, and argued that she was hoaxed into counterfactually believing that Samoan culture had more relaxed sexual norms than Western culture. However, the anthropology community on the whole has rejected Freeman's claims, concluding that Freeman cherry-picked his data, and misrepresented both Mead's research and the interviews that he conducted.
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original title: Coming of Age in Samoa
language: English
date of publication: 1928
genre: culture of Samoa

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