Mead and the Nature/Nurture Debate Term Paper by Jay Writtings LLC

Mead and the Nature/Nurture Debate
This paper explores the impact of Margaret Mead's findings in the nature versus nurture debate.
# 119852 | 1,718 words | 9 sources | MLA | 2010 | US
Published on May 26, 2010 in Anthropology (Cultural) , Psychology (Theory)

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The paper looks at Margaret Mead's book "Coming of Age in Samoa" that relates her research on the differences between adolescence in American and Samoan culture. The paper explains how Mead attributed the different periods of adolescence to the different social environment the children were being raised in and her theory put genes and heredity in the background. The paper discusses the perspective of Darwinism and eugenics and considers the criticism of this work. The paper concludes that Mead's book brought new insight to conventional ways of thinking and left an undeniable mark on the foundation of anthropology.

From the Paper:

"When Margaret Mead's book Coming of Age in Samoa was published in 1928 it set the world of Anthropology ablaze with its findings. She was sent by her professor, Franz Boas, to determine if adolescence among the girls in Samoa was the same stressful and rebellious period as it was for American girls. Mead did not have a guide book instructing her how to conduct her field work. She gained knowledge through intense observation and her ability to gain a rapport with the young girls she interviewed. She found that culture and environment were more significant in the development of characteristics than that of heredity and genes. She therefore brought the question of nature or nurture into the forefront of Anthropological debate. What impact did her finding have on the issues of nature versus nurture, and in what ways do we see them in today's society?"

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Bowman-Krum, Mary. Margaret Mead: A Biography. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2003
  • Freeman, Derek. Margaret Mead and Samoa: The Making and Unmaking of an Anthropological Myth. London: Harvard University Press, 1983
  • Mead, Margaret. Blackberry Winter. New York: William Morrow & Company, Inc., 1972
  • Mead, Margaret. Coming of Age in Samoa: A Psychological Study of Primitive YouthFor Western Civilization. New York: William Morrow & Company, Inc., 1975
  • Time Life Books. Blue Print for Life: Journey Through the Mind and Body. Virginia:Time Life Books, 1993

Cite this Term Paper:

APA Format

Mead and the Nature/Nurture Debate (2010, May 26) Retrieved September 18, 2020, from

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"Mead and the Nature/Nurture Debate" 26 May 2010. Web. 18 September. 2020. <>