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Voorkant Shankman 'The trashing of Margaret Mead' Paul SHANKMAN
The trashing of Margaret Mead - Anatomy of an anthropological controversy
Madison, Wi.: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2009; 299 blzn.
ISBN-13: 978 02 9923 4546

(x) Forword (door Paul S. Boyer)

Geeft een kort inzicht in de controverse rondom Meads onderzoek Coming of age in Samoa die gestart werd door Freeman. Dit boek behandelt die controverse.

(3) Introduction

Beschrijving van Meads bijdragen aan de antropologie en aan het publieke debat over zaken die indertijd bepaald niet gemakkelijk lagen. Ze was een gewaardeerd persoon van grote betekenis tot aan haar dood in 1978.

Wonderlijk genoeg start de controverse - een controverse die zo'n 25 jaar duurde - pas vijf jaar na haar dood in 1983 met het verschijnen van Freemans boek Margaret Mead and Samoa [in reprint later: and the heretic] - The making and unmaking of an anthropological myth. Ze kreeg dus niet de kans om zich te verweren.

[We moeten bedenken - zoals Shankman al bij de dankbetuigingen aangaf - dat American Samoa en West Samoa verschillende eilandengroepen zijn en dat Mead in de eerste en Freeman in de tweede eilandengroep veldwerk deed.]

"Freeman’s book was in part about how Samoa was puritanical and sexually restrictive rather than sexually permissive, as Mead described it. According to Freeman, Samoa was not a tropical paradise with islanders engaging in casual sex under the palms; instead, it was a repressive culture riddled with conflict, aggression, and rape. In contrast to Mead’s portrayal of a relatively conflict-free adolescence, Freeman contended that Samoan adolescence was a time of storm and stress.
Freeman’s book was also about the nature-nurture debate and whether Mead’s emphasis on culture, as opposed to biology, was warranted."(6)

"In the early 1980s the nature-nurture debate was of great interest because it was one of the issues in the emerging “culture wars,” with conservative American social commentators weighing in on the side of “nature” and criticizing those like Mead who were on the side of “culture.” " [mijn nadruk] (8)

Iedereen viel over de tot dan toe onbekende Freeman heen. De toon in zijn verweer werd steeds scherper.

"The Mead–Freeman controversy thus involved a host of issues: Mead’s Samoan fieldwork, Coming of Age in Samoa itself, the nature of Samoan culture, the nature-nurture debate, the credibility of anthropology, and Freeman’s own contribution to paradigms of knowledge. For Freeman, these issues were seamlessly linked together with Mead’s reputation. For him, Margaret Mead’s Samoan scholarship was an intellectual “scandal” of momentous importance. And he would press his case against her relentlessly. "(11)

Freeman trok Meads geloofwaardigheid in twijfel en schaadde haar reputatie.

"Freeman’s argument was authoritative, compelling, and easy to grasp, yet he presented a misleading and often inaccurate account of Mead’s work, her influence, and the state of anthropology as well as a misleading portrait of Samoa. 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. So what was wrong with it? " [mijn nadruk] (11-12)

Er is geen bewijs dat Mead door de adolscenten op Samoa voor de gek gehouden werd, Freeman negeerde ander werk over Samoa van Mead, en zo verder. Er zit veel kwade wil en zelfoverschatting in Freedmans benadering van Mead.

"Perhaps the most significant flaw in Freeman’s critique was his caricature of Mead and the influence of Coming of Age. While her book did have great popular appeal, it was not considered an important ethnographic or theoretical contribution within anthropology. There was, in fact, no “Mead paradigm” that anthropologists worshiped and against which Freeman could tilt. Mead was not an “absolute” cultural determinist; she recognized the importance of biology and evolution throughout her career. Freeman was able to advance his argument only by very selective use of information, including the creative use of partial quotations and the strategic omission of relevant data at crucial junctures in his argument."(12)

"This perspective on the controversy raises a series of questions: How was the controversy launched in the first place? How did it unfold in the media? What were the real issues? How did Freeman become credible to the general public? Why did anthropologists for the most part find his critique of limited value, and why were their voices largely unheard? What did Samoans think of all of this? Will there be a final word, and, if so, who will have it? Can Mead’s reputation be salvaged, or will Freeman prevail? These questions lead us into the story of the controversy. "(12-13)

"The controversy was fought not only in public but under the table as well. It was ugly, nasty, and dirty. In some respects it was more an intellectual smackdown than an academic debate. I was one of Freeman’s numerous critics in the controversy."(13)

"Just as Freeman attacked the reputation of Margaret Mead and not simply the factual issues in the controversy, so he attacked his critics."(14)

"He was a virtuoso of the personal epithet who was energized by controversy. Bold assertions and condemnation of his critics with great moral certainty underlined the gravity of Freeman’s mission. "(14)

[Een autoritaire dogmatische onaangename man dus, die Freeman.]

Ondanks het bovenstaande had Freemans aanval op Mead in het publieke domein succes. Hoe kon dat?

" Different audiences found Freeman’s critique useful for different reasons. American conservatives embraced Freeman as one of their own because they believed that people like Mead were responsible for the moral decline of the country. Sociobiologists and later evolutionary psychologists found Freeman’s critique of Mead helpful in advancing their scientific agenda about human nature." [mijn nadruk] (18)

(21) Part 1 - The Controversy and the Media

(23) 1 - The Controversy in the Media

"Freeman’s critique had the appeal of an exposé, putting the controversy on the public’s radar. He would have the first word, and Mead’s defenders would have to play catch-up. Freeman seemed to have understood that the more provocative the argument, the more memorable the headlines, the more attention the controversy would draw, and the more difficult it would be for critics to overcome his initial message and its momentum. Public curiosity is more likely to respond to exaggerated claims than to straightforward explanation and boring details, and Freeman provided a sense of high drama that his critics did not. " [mijn nadruk] (23)

[Dat is een nogal schokkende constatering. Wie heeft er gelijk? Degene die het hardste schreeuwt en de aandacht van de media weet te trekken. Dat zegt alles over de media en 'het publiek' voor wie waarheid blijkbaar niet bestaat.]

"Then there were the op-eds. And here the controversy, nominally about an academic subject, became political. Conservative columnist William Rusher wrote that not only was Mead wrong about Samoa but that in the name of science she had encouraged the loosening of moral constraints, condoned “free love” in America, and contributed to the moral decay of a nation. " [mijn nadruk] (24)

[Waaraan je kunt zien dat het die conservatieven vreselijk heeft dwars gezeten dat iemand - een vrouwelijke wetenschapper nog wel - kritiek durfde te hebben op de seksuele mores in de VS. Seks moest natuurlijk onzichtbaar blijven.]

"In this sense, the way the controversy developed was unusual. Most academic controversies begin (and end) in professional journals, never emerging from their academic cocoons. Experts, having read articles in these journals, know the data and arguments. Should a controversy then appear in the media, they can knowledgeably respond. But Freeman’s book was provided to the media without his argument appearing in academic journals. Although some experts knew of Freeman’s antipathy to Mead and perhaps the general contours of his argument, the book came as a surprise to almost everyone. The story was also time-sensitive for the media. Newspapers and magazines could not wait for weeks or months for experts to get their hands on the book and read it, or they would be scooped by competitors working on the same story. To cover the controversy as breaking news, they had to tell the story immediately. So reporters who had not read the book were asking questions of experts who had not read the book. " [mijn nadruk] (25)

"Academics have the luxury of doing research over extended periods of time, but the great advantage of thoroughness in the academic research cycle cannot offset the immediacy of the news cycle. As a result, the large academic literature on the Mead–Freeman controversy gradually published over the next two and a half decades received very little media attention. Remaining within academia and outside the public’s view, these publications would arrive long after the newsworthiness of the story had peaked. "(25)

"While deploring the lack of objectivity of his critics and denouncing their willingness to attack him personally, Freeman did not see any evidence that he had manipulated “relevant empirical data,” as his critics claimed, or that he had made ad hominem attacks on Mead or those who disagreed with him. Instead, Freeman believed that his virtue had been questioned, not just his scholarship, hence the moral indignation in many of his replies."(30)

[Dus: je publiceert een boek buiten alle wetenschappelijke kanalen om, ongetwijfeld om gefundeerde kritiek te vermijden. En daarna klaag je dat de wetenschap je niet serieus wil nemen? Erg typisch. Weer eens zo iemand zonder enige zelfkennis of zelfkritiek die alle problemen die hij meemaakt aan anderen wijt. ]

(31) 2 - Selling the Controversy

Een uitwerking van tv-uitzendingen in de VS waarin Freeman verscheen.

[En waar bleek wat voor onaangenaam persoon het was. Zijn gedrag doet in alles aan Trump denken, nou dan weet je het wel.]

Daarna over de documentaire Margaret Mead and Samoa waarin Freeman zijn visie uiteen kon zetten. En over het toneelstuk over het thema door Williamson, gemaakt in samenwerking met Freeman.

"So it was that the controversy sprawled across the public landscape during its first two decades, with Freeman receiving substantial support and recognition from publishers, writers, scientists, columnists, reviewers, filmmakers, playwrights, and intellectuals. Despite his notoriety within anthropology, many people outside the discipline found Freeman’s critique persuasive and worthy of praise. Indeed, they provided him with a measure of fame. "(44)

(45) Part 2 - Derek Freeman

(47) 3 - Derek Freeman, the Critic

Gedetailleerde uitwerking van Freemans leven en persoonlijkheid.

"So critics of Freeman’s work did not discuss his psychological problems in public, a courtesy that worked to his advantage. As one exasperated professor stated during the question-and-answer period after a talk that I gave on the controversy, “We all know he’s crazy, but we can’t say it!” Freeman was not reluctant to discuss the details of Mead’s personal life as he saw them, but his own life was, for the most part, not discussed. Yet Freeman’s autobiography highlighted the events in Sarawak as a major turning point in his career. His “cognitive abreaction” there would lead him toward psychoanalysis, back to Samoa, and into a personal confrontation with Margaret Mead. " [mijn nadruk] (56)

(57) Psychoanalysis, Freeman, and Mead

Freeman vat belangstelling op voor de psychoanalyse in relatie tot antropologie. Hij neemt contact op met Mead die die wereld kende, maar Mead had al over hem gehoord en liet zich daar niet voor lenen.

"Mead had heard of Freeman’s reputation as an unstable individual, and she knew of his private criticism of her work. She therefore avoided assisting Freeman directly. "(57)

"What was it about Mead and her work that was so important to Freeman? Again, the answer is not immediately obvious. At the time Freeman returned to Samoa in the mid-1960s, Coming of Age was almost forty years old and showing its age. Mead did not think it was her most important work. The book was not used in graduate seminars as a model for research, and it was not considered much more than a popular best seller by most anthropologists. In fact, a number of her colleagues thought of Mead as a popularizer rather than a serious scholar. And this had been the case from the beginning of her career."(59)

Hun ontmoetingen rondom en tijdens een seminar in Canberra in 1964 schijnen een belangrijk aanleiding te zijn geweest voor Freeman om zich op een negatieve manier vast te klampen aan Mead.

"Thus Freeman’s involvement with Mead and Samoa was partially academic, but it also included a complex intersection of his personal history, intellectual development, and proclivity for controversy. While the substance of his two books on Mead appeared to be academic, the background that contributed to their writing, exposition, and style was personal."(69)

(71) Part 3 - Margaret Mead and Coming of Age in Samoa

(73) 5 - Young Margaret Mead

"Having discussed Freeman's life and his connections to Samoa and Mead, we now turn to Mead’s life and her connections to Samoa. How did her career begin? What led her to study adolescence in Samoa and to write the book that made her famous?"(73)

Mead werd geboren in 1901.

"Mead’s family was unusual in its commitment to education, especially for women."(73)

[In die tijd was je dan meteen een afwijker ten opzichte van andere vrouwen. En dat is ook precies waarvan ze last kreeg tijdens haar eerste jaar aan een kleinsteeds college.]

"Her intelligence, so highly valued by her family, was now a liability; the young men in her classes resented her for it."(73)

[Typisch. Als tweedejaars stapte ze over naar het Barnardcollege in het bruisende New York en meteen ging alles een stuk beter. ]

"Mead and Freeman were very much engaged with the wider world of great ideas. They were both assertive and had a flare for the dramatic. But while Mead’s memoirs of college discuss her personal relationships and her views on sex, these subjects are absent from Freeman’s. He married at thirty-two, and was committed to monogamy. " [mijn nadruk] (75)

[Ook typisch. Emotionele openheid tegenover emotionele geslotenheid.]

"Since the late nineteenth century, sex had become a central fact of life in the city. There was a gradual separation of sex from the rhetoric of sin. Although there was still a great deal of sexual repression by today’s standards, sex was now being studied and thought about as a social good. It was something that people wanted to know more about. After World War I the sexual ambience of the city continued to evolve. With a number of young single women living independently, there were more opportunities for young men and women to meet. And private women’s colleges like Barnard provided opportunities for lesbian relationships, which were very much forbidden at the time. In fact, many mothers of this period worried that their daughters might enter homosexual relationships if they attended these schools." [mijn nadruk] (76)

Over Meads vriendinnengroep.

"For these young women, sex was on the table, not in the closet. It was not secret or considered unseemly. Mead felt at home with this group of young women. She also felt that she was part of something larger and more significant, the next wave of feminism, the new woman of the 1920s.(...)
For Mead and her cohort, sexual politics were a matter of serious ethical concern. They read the new literature on the philosophy of free love and learned about sexual technique in books by influential authors such as Havelock Ellis. Mead, as a modern young woman, embraced the idea of free love and promoted it in conversations with her fiancé and her friends. On a philosophical level Mead believed that free love meant following one’s heart rather than conventional norms about commitment to one partner, marriage, and heterosexuality. If marriage and passion coincided, so much the better, but love itself was paramount. Free love also meant that multiple relationships were possible, as were bisexual relationships. Jealousy was considered a negative emotion because it implied possessiveness and prevented free love. As an idea, free love appealed to Mead. It also became a matter of practical concern, for she was becoming involved with a number of young women." [mijn nadruk] (77-78)

[De praktijk is natuurlijk een stuk lastiger.]

"Mead’s marginal status at DePauw was transformed at Barnard. She was now intellectually exciting and attractive. She was also daring. For these reasons, young women loved her. Banner’s detailed reconstruction of Mead’s college years indicates that, while she was chaste in her relationship with her fiancé, she had a number of lesbian relationships inside and outside her social circle. Although Mead enjoyed these relationships, she kept them secret. They were passionate and complicated, and they left Mead feeling torn as she tried to manage them simultaneously. Despite her belief in the ideal of free love, Mead was uncertain of her own sexual orientation and troubled by it. Homosexuality was generally taboo, and bisexuality was even less well understood, although in the early twenties both were considered fashionable in some New York social circles." [mijn nadruk] (79)

"Mead’s interest in anthropology came late in her undergraduate career. In her senior year at Barnard, after committing to psychology, she took a course from Franz Boas, the German-born founder of American anthropology. It was a life-altering experience. As a result of her upbringing Mead already believed in the equality of “races” and that cultures were neither inherently superior nor inferior to each other. But Boas introduced her to the idea of human evolution, which strongly influenced her. She also met Boas’s teaching assistant, Ruth Benedict, who would become her close friend and colleague."(79)

Over Meads eerste huwelijk, met Cressman. Over haar latere intieme relatie met Ruth Benedict.

"Both Mead and Benedict knew that if their relationship became public, it would cost them their careers and reputations. Benedict was a married woman at this time, and so was Mead. There was not only a sexual dimension to their relationship but a teacher-student dimension as well. Although the sexual aspect of their relationship ended in the early 1930s, they remained close friends and intellectual companions until Benedict’s death in 1948. The intimate nature of their relationship did not become public knowledge until 1984, sixty years after it began and several years after Mead’s death. [mijn nadruk] "(83)

[Weer eens wat anders dan het huidige gezeur over dat soort intimiteiten.]

(87) First Fieldwork in Samoa

"Mead's proffesional goal of fieldwork abroad took precedence over her personal life. And fieldwork for a young woman traveling abroad and working alone was not easy in the 1920s. Mead had never visited another culture prior to Samoa. She had never been west of the Mississippi. She had not spent a day alone before her fieldwork began, and, according to her autobiography, she had not even spent a night in a hotel by herself."(87)

"Mead was interested in Samoan culture, but American Samoa was not a pristine, untouched culture and had not been for some time. Samoans had become devout Christians many decades earlier; they were part of a cash economy, selling copra on the world market; and this group of islands was an American territory under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Navy."(88)

"Mead’s rationale for doing fieldwork on Ta‘ ̄u had to do largely with the sheer numbers of adolescents readily available, the lesser effects of Westernization on the villages of this island, and the comforts of living with the Holts. Ta‘ ̄u provided a unique setting in which several hundred Samoans lived in close proximity to each other in three different villages. While still on Tutuila, Mead realized that Ta‘ ̄u could yield a sample of dozens of adolescent girls. "(89)

"There were social challenges in living with Samoans as well as physical ones. Samoan families could be extremely hospitable, generous, and helpful. Mead’s letters to Boas and her friends show her appreciation of the privileges of rank that she was given when she was appointed a ceremonial virgin, or taupou, in a chiefly family that she stayed with. Yet rank also had its drawbacks, restricting her contact with other girls and preventing her from studying the general population of adolescent girls. (...) This was another reason that Mead wanted to live with the Holts. For her study of adolescents she needed to have a residence that did not identify her too closely with the rank of a particular Samoan family.
Privacy was also a consideration. Even the most rudimentary Western conventions of privacy could not be taken for granted. Samoan families lived together in open-sided houses known as fale. There were no walls and hence no doors or windows. As a result, social life was very public, and Samoans viewed privacy as dangerous because they felt that people only sought it when they wished to do “bad things.”"(91)

"Mead used her room at the back of the Holt house to meet with Samoan girls individually and in small groups, as it was a very convenient place for visit- ing. The room opened onto a village, and the girls enjoyed Mead’s company and attention.(...) By getting to know the girls one-on-one, away from their homes and peer groups, she was able to obtain information that would not have been available in more public settings. "(92)

"Based on the letters and bulletins that she sent home, Mead’s fieldwork seems to have gone well despite a number of difficulties. Yet Freeman found her fieldwork inadequate and believed that this inadequacy explained her alleged misunderstanding of Samoan culture. Freeman’s role model for proper fieldwork was the great ethnographer Bronislaw Malinowski. In the 1920s and for decades thereafter, Malinowski was regarded as the godfather of modern fieldwork.(...)
In the 1920s, though, Malinowski’s work was just being introduced in the United States. Being in the field for a lengthy period was not yet part of the training for most young American ethnographers."(94-95)

Maar ook Malinowski moest roeien met de riemen die hij had en slaagde er niet altijd in om zo te werken als hij idealiter wilde. Hij was dan ook zeer positief over Meads werk op Samoa, in tegenstelling dus tot Freeman.

" At best, Malinowski lived among the people but not as one of them. This was true of Mead as well. They did not “go native,” although both became participant-observers. Samoa was Mead’s maiden voyage. She was considerably younger than Malinowski when he began his first fieldwork, and she did not have the prior training that Malinowski had. "(96)

Sprak Mead de taal voldoende? Freeman heeft het natuurlijk grondig onderzocht en kon niet anders dan positief zijn daarover.

"As improbable as it may have seemed at the outset, Mead’s fieldwork in Samoa was successful. She not only worked through the challenges of her first fieldwork but also overcame the doubts of her colleagues in anthropology and those of the naval administrators in American Samoa. While Freeman found Mead young, naive, incompetent, and therefore gullible, an alternative view suggests that she was courageous, energetic, resourceful, and a very quick learner. Freeman himself acknowledged Mead’s “phenomenal energy” in the field. "(99-100)

(101) 7 - Writing Coming of Age in Samoa

Als een arts haar - zoals later blijkt onterecht - vertelt dat ze geen kinderen kan krijgen besluit ze om haar relatie met Cressman te beëindigen en te trouwen met Fortune.

[Ik vind haar wat onvolwassen op het vlak van relaties, zo op het eerste gezicht. Haar man Cressman - die ze als een goede vader inschatte, reden waarom ze bij hem bleef - niet vertellen dat je geen kinderen kunt krijgen? Vreemd. Hoe dan ook: het maakte dat ze zich vrij kon maken en zich kon storten op een andere relatie en haar werk.]

Coming of age in Samoa werd eerst als een onderzoeksrapport geschreven. Pas later werd het omgeschreven naar de literaire stijl waarmee het boek toegankelijk werd voor een groot publiek en beroemd / berucht werd. Daarmee werd het persoonlijker en soms ook wat speculatiever.

"This report did not contain most of the social commentary that would eventually appear in Coming of Age, including the seductive chapter “A Day in Samoa” and the two social advocacy chapters that concluded the book. The report was inconsequential and might have remained an obscure and uncontroversial document. However, as it was transformed into a popular work of social criticism Mead’s own views became more explicit. In writing about the contrast between adolescence in Samoa and the United States, Mead became a social critic, not simply an ethnographic reporter."(102-103)

"Mead offered Samoa as a mirror into which Americans could look for alternatives to their own culture, where adolescence was more difficult. She did not neglect rape, conflict, sexual restrictiveness, and aggression in Samoa, but she did downplay their significance. There are numerous examples of rivalry, competition, jealousy, and conflict in Coming of Age in Samoa. Indeed, there is an entire chapter titled “The Girl in Conflict.” Yet Mead’s interpretation of their place in Samoan culture gave them less emphasis and far fewer negative connotations than Freeman did. "(105)

"Most anthropologists of her era did not write the way Mead did in Coming of Age. She was unequivocal and unafraid to offer her own opinions. Mead did not qualify or hesitate; she did not use words like “perhaps” and “probably.” Her use of dramatic phrasing suggested just how progressive Samoan adolescent girls were compared to American girls. She stated that they enjoyed “great premarital freedom,” could “experiment freely,” and had “as many lovers as possible” for as long as possible before marriage. These phrases added a dash of excitement to Mead’s staid professional report, but what may have seemed tantalizingly provocative to the American public in the late 1920s seemed truly problematic to a number of academics and popular reviewers at the time she wrote them. Mead herself recognized the discontinuity between her descriptions and what she called the “almost drastic character of the conclusions.”
Taken as descriptive statements, the phrases Mead used to evoke casualness and permissiveness often did not follow from her data. Indeed, she herself discussed the limits on premarital sex for adolescent girls, punishments for premarital sex, and how premarital sex often led to marriage rather than to its avoidance. Thus, the phrasing that Mead chose followed more from the message that she wished to convey and less from the data." [mijn nadruk] (108)

"Mead went beyond simply describing and analyzing Samoan adolescence as she would have in a standard ethnography and as she did in her report to the National Research Council. She was no longer a dispassionate ethnographer writing from “the native point of view” or from a purely scientific point of view. Mead was writing from her point of view to a nonprofessional audience. And Mead was writing for Americans about America as well as about Samoa." [mijn nadruk] (109)

"With this in mind, Mead contrasted a fairly benign period of adolescence in the islands with the more turbulent years of American adolescence, arguing that Americans might learn something from the Samoan experience. The intent of the book was prescriptive, offering lessons for American teachers, educators, and parents." [mijn nadruk] (109)

"Mead’s comparisons and personal opinions about Samoan and American adolescence were professionally suspect."(110)

"In fact, Coming of Age was utopian in the sense that Mead hoped that American adolescence could become less stressful for adolescents and parents alike. Mead viewed Samoa as a kind of utopia, and in her interpretation she minimized its less pleasant aspects while emphasizing its more positive ones. She was also an early feminist, writing about the lives of young women in a positive manner. There was no hidden agenda in the book, and her direct approach connected with her readers. While her book was utopian, Mead knew that Samoa was not a realistic alternative for Americans. Americans could not become Samoans, but they might learn something about themselves from Samoans nonetheless. " [mijn nadruk] (111)

[De vraag die me nu belangrijk lijkt is: hoe feitelijk juist is haar weergave van het seksuele gedrag van die Samoaanse meisjes? Haar tweede boek Social Organization of Manu‘a is wel wetenschappelijk verantwoord en kreeg grote lof uit de beroepsgroep, maar zegt dat boek ook iets over dat sekxuele gedrag? Ik krijg tot dusver voor mijn gevoel geen antwoord op mijn vraag. Misschien is iedereen wel altijd erg vrij op seksueel vlak in een samenleving waarin geen privacy bestaat. Denk aan wat Elias uitwerkt.]

"In Coming of Age, Mead could have stayed closer to the data, could have been less of a social critic, and could have toned down what Freeman called her “verbal artifice.” She could have avoided absolutes in describing Samoans as having “no frigidity, no impotence,” and so on. But Coming of Age was a popular book written for the general public. Reviewers understood the book’s purpose immediately, and this was a major reason for its enthusiastic reception."(113)

[Normatief sloeg het aan, waarschijnlijk zelfs los van of het allemaal waar was wat Mead beweerde. Die feiten zaten een aantal reviewers dwars. Er was dus al lang voor Freeman sprake van kritiek uit de beroepsgroep op dat aspect van Coming of age: klopte het allemaal wel? wat was het wetenschappelijke gehalte eigenlijk? En natuurlijk: ook normatief waren er critici, ongeacht of het klopte of niet, namelijk vanuit de conservatiteve hoek.]

"From the time it was published, Coming of Age was the subject of high praise and strong criticism. The book did not receive a free ride from Mead’s colleagues or its other reviewers. Moreover, Mead was sensitive to this criticism and defensive about it, especially criticism from Malinowski, who, after initially applauding Coming of Age, became quite critical of her work. At the time it was published, though, the book’s reception was of limited concern to Mead. She had not anticipated its success; neither had her publisher. Mead was leaving New York when the book was released. Indeed, when the first reviews of Coming of Age in Samoa were published, she was not even in the United States. She was on her way to the South Pacific to join Reo Fortune, her soon-to-be second husband, to do more fieldwork."(115)

(116) Mead’s American Audience in the 1920s

"Mead found a broad consensus among educators, psychologists, and other professionals about the “restlessness of youth” in the 1920s. For her, though, the more interesting question was to what extent this was a uniquely American phenomenon."(117)

Hoe was de stand van zaken w.b. jongeren in de VS in de 20er jaren? Grote onrust.

"Cars and movies provided new locations for young people to get together. So did public dances and dance halls, no longer sponsored exclusively by religious or civic organizations. Privately owned clubs provided new opportunities for young people of different backgrounds to meet each other. There were “fast” dances, like the Charleston and early swing, which frightened traditionalists. As one female evangelist declared, “Social dancing is the first and easiest step towards hell. The first time a girl allows a man to swing her around the dance floor her instinct tells her she has lost something she should have treasured.”
In the traditional American ideal, young men were supposed to be gallant gentlemen, protective of a young lady’s dignity and virtue; young women were supposed to be modest and chaste. But young people in the 1920s were openly interested in sex. Movies, dances, music, magazines, and literature all used sex as an invitation to imagine new relationships." [mijn nadruk] (120)

"By the 1920s a more sexualized culture was developing in the public arena. Smoking and drinking, formerly considered social vices among women, were not only tolerated but accepted in some circles. Women’s dress became more revealing as hemlines rose. Silk stockings were all the rage, and advertisements for them were so popular that they were used to sell other products. The use of makeup, formerly associated with prostitutes, was now common, and nail polish was in use among younger girls. Even “permanent” hairstyles, including fashionable “bobbed” hair for married women, were in demand among adolescents. A separate culture for young people was developing, with sex as its central theme; sex marked off youth from age. More subtle changes were also occurring. Increasing education was deferring the age of marriage for a subset of the population. As more young people completed high school and attended college, some of them postponed engagement and marriage. Dating, in which there was no commitment to engagement or marriage, became more common, creating a sphere where personal expression and the recognition of individual desires took precedence over strict laws and a puritanical public morality." [mijn nadruk] (120)

"As the recognition of women’s sexuality migrated from academic circles into popular consciousness, women began to think of themselves as sexual beings. Women’s sexual responsiveness and satisfaction were no longer considered issues to be avoided or to be ashamed of but rather issues to be addressed. Advances in birth control in the form of condoms and diaphragms meant that sex and pregnancy were no longer inextricably linked. It was now possible to imagine sex without children and even outside of marriage. Sex was no longer the ultimate bargaining chip for a marriage contract. "(121)

"For all the sexual possibilities of the 1920s, sexual restraint prevailed in actual conduct. Young women were very likely to be virgins when they became engaged. Young men often found their first sexual partners with prostitutes; married men were also frequent clients. As for married women, sexual fulfillment was often unrealized with their husbands," [mijn nadruk] (123)

"Thus, in the early twentieth century there was still a socially approved norm in which virginity was highly valued and in which dating or courtship led to marriage, which in turn led to sex and children. This conservative public morality opposed the individualizing and liberalizing trends of the 1920s favored by Mead and others."(124)

[Want daar ging het dus over: hoe Mead in haar tijd paste of niet. Vandaar het hele verhaal ervoor. ]

"This was the American context in which Mead wrote Coming of Age, a set of cultural understandings that she and her audience shared but that was largely undocumented in her book. An older public sexual morality was in decline but had not been replaced. A new morality seemed to be emerging but had not become widely accepted and would not be for many decades to come. These were the conflicting standards with which maturing adolescents had to cope and were one reason that Mead believed they experienced more turbulence than Samoan adolescents."(125)

"By the early twentieth century, popular images of seductive Polynesian women were already part of an evolving stereotype." [mijn nadruk] (129)

"Because her audience had already incorporated at least some of these images into their worldview, the tropical setting for Coming of Age made the contrast between America and Samoa inviting as well as instructive. "(131)

(133) Part 4 - Sex, Lies, and Samoans

(135) 9 - What the Controversy Meant to Samoans

"From her perspective, she had portrayed them in a positive manner. Yet as Samoans heard about her book in subsequent decades or read it in English, many felt that Mead had misrepresented them. Her voice was not their voice. At stake were their identity and the world’s perception of them. "(135)

"Mead was especially disliked because she had openly and publicly discussed sex, representing Samoan women as sexually permissive."(139)

"Samoans have become much more self-conscious about sex as a result of Western contact and missionization over the past 170 years. Samoan cultural traditions involving sex, such as erotic singing and erotic dancing, have diminished. At one time the islands had rich traditions in these activities. However, with the advent of Christian missionaries in the 1830s, they have been gradually suppressed. Samoans now sometimes speak of the premissionary era as a “time of darkness,” and they are embarrassed or ashamed about this part of their past, which they now regard as sinful." [mijn nadruk] (142)

[Is het niet triest? ]

"Today, some Trobrianders, educated and with Western values, are no happier about Malinowski’s interpretations than Samoans are about Mead’s account, because their perceptions of themselves within their own cultures are integrated with many Western values and ideas.”"(143)

[De geschiedenis wordt met andere woorden herschreven vanuit een latere periode.]

"Given Mead’s knowledge of the language and her continual interaction with young Samoans, it is difficult to give the hoaxing allegation credence, although Samoans themselves have often believed it. Mead may not have understood everything that she encountered in Samoa, but she did understand a good deal. "(144)

"As Martin Orans learned, based on his fieldwork in Western Samoa, most Samoans welcomed Freeman’s claim that Mead greatly exaggerated Samoan sexual promiscuity. Yet Freeman’s portrayal of Samoan culture, involving high levels of aggression, repression, conflict, delinquency, and rape, has not been viewed as an improvement over their conception of Mead’s work. Some Samoans have asked, Are the fear and loathing of Freeman’s darker Samoa a suitable replacement for Mead’s warm and sunny vision?"(144)

(151) 10 - Samoan Sexual Conduct - Belief and Behavior

" This chapter and the next two are about Samoan sexual conduct — what is known and what is not known, what Mead knew and what Freeman knew, and the difference between belief and behavior. "(152)

Bespreking van Malinowski's The Sexual Life of Savages in North-Western Melanesia: An Ethnographic Account of Courtship, Marriage and Family Life among the Natives of the Trobriand Islands, British New Guinea van 1929, compleet anders van stijl dan Meads boek, veel explicieter soms ook, een zeer serieus boek met zeer serieus onderzoek. Dit boek wordt afgezet tegen Meads boek en Freemans boek.

"In terms of actual behavior, then, the limited comparative data indicate that even at the beginning of the sexual revolution in the 1960s and early 1970s the adolescent Samoan girls studied by Mead and Freeman were somewhat more likely to have been sexually active than their American counterparts. The quantitative data, though, are only part of the story. They do not provide the cultural context or offer the personal experiences of the young women in both Samoa and the United States. "(157)

"What these statistics demonstrate is that the relationship between belief and behavior is not straightforward. The ideal of virginity may be upheld with sincere conviction at the same time that other beliefs and changing conditions yield very different behavior." [mijn nadruk] (159)

(160) 11 - Under the Coconut Palms

"In Samoa, premarital relationships were publicly disapproved of and dangerous for a number of reasons, but they occurred nonetheless, although their actual frequency is unclear. Estimates vary widely. "(169)

[Maakt het uit? Als je de hele context meeneemt is er absoluut geen sprake van een 'permissive society' hier. Het hele systeem reguleert seks en is bepaald conservatief, inclusief rolverdeling tussen mannen en vrouwen, dubbele moraal, en zo verder. Dat jongens en meisjes toch seks hebben en daarmee de regels overtreden is iets van alle tijden en is in het Westen net zo goed het geval. Met andere woorden: ik vind het nogal een schijndiscussie.]

(175) 12 - Virginity and the History of Sex in Samoa

Over de taupou-rituelen op Samoa, de institutionele maagd. Erg belangrijk daar, ook volgens Mead.

"And she was required to demonstrate her chastity in a public defloration ceremony as part of the formal arranged marriage."(175)

"Freeman’s extensive discussion of the taupou system was intended to refute Mead’s portrayal of the taupou as a girl of high rank whose virginity was closely guarded but who was the exception rather than the rule in terms of virginity. Mead argued that, apart from the taupou and other daughters of high-ranking chiefs and despite the ideology of virginity for all girls, adolescent girls from lower-ranking families could and did engage in clandestine premarital sex. Instead of reinforcing a preexisting ideal of virginity, as Freeman would have it, Christianity and colonial government led to a relaxation of the severe traditional standards for the taupou in part by completely banning the defloration ceremony. Apart from the virginity of the taupou, to which Samoans were committed, Mead believed that they were skeptical of Christianity’s message about chastity for all Samoans and that they participated in what, by American standards of the 1920s, were permissive premarital relationships."(176)

[De Samoans mochten vast ook niet meer naakt dansen van die christelijke missionarissen. En ja, hoor ...:]

"While approving of the ideal of virginity as symbolized by the taupou, missionaries did not approve of many aspects of the taupou system and other aspects of Samoan sexual conduct. They strongly condemned political marriages, multiple marriages, prostitution, adultery, ease of divorce, erotic dancing and singing, ease of sexual access in living arrangements, sexual activities during intervillage visits, and, of course, public defloration. The missionaries were very interested in assuring that virginity become the ideal for all young women, not just the taupou, and that men remain faithful to their wives. "(181)

"Despite missionary teachings, allegedly sinful practices continued among large segments of the population, leading to frustration on the part of the missionaries."(182)

"Because Freeman’s critique of Mead was primarily a historical critique based on what Samoan sexual conduct was like before, during, and after the time that Mead did her research, an extended look at the history of Samoan sexual conduct is important in evaluating Freeman’s argument. The historical data just reviewed indicate major problems with Freeman’s reconstruction of the history of the taupou system. Historically, Samoa was less restrictive than Freeman allowed, and there were more variability and permissiveness in some areas of Samoan sexual conduct than he discerned. Especially puzzling is the absence of any discussion of interethnic relationships during World War II in the islands. " [mijn nadruk] (187)

(191) Part 5 - The Broader Issues

(193) 13 - The Many Versions of the Hoaxing Hypothesis

[Shankman toont in detail aan dat Freemans stelling dat Mead voor de gek gehouden zou zijn door de Samoaanse meiden op zijn zachtst gezegd niet klopt. Je kunt het ook misleiding noemen.]

(206) The Nature-Nurture Debate and the Appeal of Freeman’s Argument

"The antievolutionary “Mead paradigm” was, for Freeman, the most significant and far-reaching consequence of what he called “Mead’s mistake” in Samoa. The nature-nurture dimension of the controversy was also the issue that attracted many nonanthropologists to Freeman’s cause. Since 1983, Mead and Samoa have become pawns in the intellectual war between those who favored a more biological approach to human behavior and those who favored a more cultural approach. "(206)

"Other issues drew people to the controversy as well. In 1983 Freeman’s critique of Mead struck a chord with an audience of conservatives interested in pushing back the sexual revolution. Mead was peripherally associated with this revolution and became a target of the conservative counterrevolution."(210)

"Mead discussed the complex relationship between culture and human nature throughout her long career, developing an evolutionary position that was very similar to the one Freeman would later embrace as his own. "(211)

[Dus ook op dit punt klopt niets van wat Freeman beweert. ]

(225) Conclusion

"Of course, this was not the end of the controversy. After Freeman’s second book was published in 1999 there was additional criticism, along with his responses and a river of letters and faxes to his critics. Although the many versions of his hoaxing hypothesis had been effectively questioned, Freeman remained unbowed, demanding vindication."(225)

"What is interesting about Freeman’s assertions is not just that they were misleading and inaccurate but that they were unnecessary for his refutation of Mead. He did not need them to critique her work. Coming of Age in Samoa did include errors of fact and questionable interpretations as well as overstatements. In retrospect, Mead could have been a more scientific ethnographer of Samoan adolescence. These were not difficult points to make. However, Freeman used his knowledge not merely to reinterpret the ethnographic record but to damage Mead’s reputation in a deliberate and personal manner. Freeman could have criticized Mead’s work, revised it, and improved our knowledge of Samoa without diminishing her record as an ethnographer, without resorting to the accusation of hoaxing, without portraying her as antievolutionary, and without trashing her reputation." [mijn nadruk] (227)

"Now in its third decade, the controversy that Freeman initiated has become part of intellectual history. Quite apart from Freeman’s own pronouncements about the controversy’s importance, it has been elevated to the status of one of the most significant controversies in the history of science. In Hal Hellman’s Great Feuds in Science, the Mead–Freeman controversy was listed as one of the ten “liveliest” scientific controversies of all time, on a par with the controversy over evolution set off by the discoveries of Charles Darwin. In Ron Robin’s Scandals and Scoundrels, the Mead–Freeman controversy was selected as one of “seven cases that shook the academy.” And in terms of the number of books, articles, and chapters generated, it has certainly been the “greatest” controversy in cultural anthropology. But was it really that important? "229

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